Adverse Childhood Experiences and Health and Wellness Outcomes among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men


Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) are a population at the intersection of two minority statuses—racial minority and sexual minority. Membership in either group, compared to white or heterosexual group membership, may increase one’s risk of negative childhood and adult experiences. Baseline data from an HIV intervention efficacy trial (the Black Men Evolving Study) were used to explore the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) among 536 BMSM and associations between ACEs and adult mental and physical health outcomes. Overall, the prevalence of ACEs was high among this sample of BMSM with almost 90% experiencing at least one ACE. Findings revealed that ACE score was significantly associated with adult mental health (AOR = 1.21, 95% CI [1.12, 1.30]), but not with adult physical health. All ACEs were significantly associated with mental health, but only physical neglect and household substance abuse were significantly associated with physical health (AOR = 1.69, 95% CI [1.02, 2.74] and AOR = 1.57, 95% CI [1.03, 2.40], respectively). The findings support the need for interventions targeting improved adult health outcomes, particularly for minority groups, to consider the impact of early adversity on health and wellness.

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Additional Contributions: Derek C. Ford, PhD, Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA provided statistical support.

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Correspondence to K. A. Ports.

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The research described in this article was conducted with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement (5U01PS001574; principal investigator: Darrell P. Wheeler, Ph.D.).The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Ports, K.A., Lee, R.D., Raiford, J. et al. Adverse Childhood Experiences and Health and Wellness Outcomes among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men. J Urban Health 94, 375–383 (2017).

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  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • ACEs
  • Black men
  • Men who have sex with men