Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences of Parenting Women in Drug Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

Abstract

Descriptive adverse childhood experience (ACE) prevalence data on parenting women seeking treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) is limited, despite this group being one of the fastest growing sub-populations of the opioid epidemic. The aim of this study was to: (1) determine prevalence of ACEs) in a population of parenting women in treatment for OUD, (2) characterize ACEs, and (3) compare study ACE data to Pennsylvania Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (PA BRFSS) to normalize study results. Between 2014 and 2018, ACEs were collected from parenting women (N = 152) enrolled in treatment for OUDs. Results showed on average women were 30.3 years of age (SD 4.6, range 22–41 years) non-Hispanic (87.0%), white (74.0%), and held a high school education or less (76.0%). The mean total ACE score was 4.3 (SD 2.3; range 0–8). Most women reported 4 ≥ ACEs (65.0%), while only 5.0% reported 0 ACEs. The current sample had higher mean ACE score (4.3 PSMDT vs. 1.4 PA BRFSS Data) than PA BRFSS Data. The burden of ACEs in parenting women in treatment for OUD is significant. Understanding the trauma parenting women in drug treatment have experienced, may support efforts to reduce stigma of this population. Public health intervention and policy work that is trauma proactive is needed to address this growing epidemic.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Children’s Bureau, which is located within the Administration for Children and Families, a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services (Grant No. 90CB0190).

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design and Dr. Abatemarco conceptualized and designed the larger PSMDT study that this sub-study was nested within. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by Dr. Gannon, Dr. Short, and Dr. LaNoue. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Dr. Gannon and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to M. Gannon.

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There are no potential conflicts of interest with any of the authors of this study. This research does involve human subject research and as such as approved by Thomas Jefferson University Institutional Review Board and the City of Philadelphia Institutional Review Board. All subjects included in the study provided informed consent, and considerable measures were taken to ensure subjects understood the study using the talk back method.

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Gannon, M., Short, V., LaNoue, M. et al. Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences of Parenting Women in Drug Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder. Community Ment Health J 57, 872–879 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-020-00661-0

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Keywords

  • Aces
  • Trauma
  • Opioids
  • Parenting