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Bad experiences in early childhood can lead to “health harming life course,” study shows

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 02 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3097
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1BMJ

The greater the number of adverse experiences a child goes through, the more likely they are to binge drink, be involved in violence, or develop illegal drug habits as adults, a national study has found.

Researchers from Liverpool John Moores University surveyed a nationally representative sample of 3885 people aged 18-69 years. Almost half (47%) of the respondents had experienced at least one of the nine adverse childhood experiences they were asked about: physical, sexual, or verbal abuse; living with someone who had a mental illness; parental separation; having a household member incarcerated; domestic violence; and alcohol or drug use in the home.1

The findings, reported in BMC Medicine, showed that the most prevalent adverse childhood experience was parental separation, reported by 24% …

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