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Journal Article


Vervoort-Schel J, Mercera G, Wissink I, Mink E, van der Helm P, Lindauer R, Moonen X. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018; 15(10): e15102136.


Department of Child Development and Education, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 127, 1018 WS Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


(Copyright © 2018, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)






Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are negative childhood events occurring in a child's family or social environment, that may cause harm or distress. Children with intellectual disabilities (ID) and their families are underrepresented in international ACEs research, while current insights can also contribute to the improvement of their health and well-being. Deficiencies in intellectual and adaptive functioning and living circumstances can increase their vulnerability to adversities. In the present exploratory study 69 case-files of children referred to a Dutch national center for residential youth care for children with ID were analyzed to assess the prevalence and associations of ACEs. It was found that almost half (49.3%) of the children experienced 2 ACEs from the original ACEs framework or more (M (mean) = 2.1; SD (standard deviation) = 1.8) and that the number of ACEs in children was related to the presence of ACEs in parents. Both child and parental ACEs were also related to attachment- and trauma- and stressor-related disorders. Finally, living circumstances and multiple ACEs from the expanded ACEs framework, especially related to parental characteristics, were found to be related to ACEs in children with ID. This implicates the importance of a transgenerational approach when further investigating the impact of ACEs on mental and physical health in children with ID (intellectual disabilities).

Language: en


adverse childhood experiences; behavior problems; children; family context; intellectual disabilities; parents; physical health; residential youth care; youth psychopathology


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