3 in 5 adult report adverse childhood experiences in Canada

Roughly three in every five Canadian adults aged 45 to 85 have been exposed to childhood abuse, neglect, intimate partner violence or other household adversity, say researchers, including an Indian-origin.

The research, published in CMAJ Open, showed that more than one in four adults reported exposure to physical abuse, and one in five reported exposure to intimate partner violence and emotional abuse in childhood.

“Our research showed that adverse childhood experiences are highly prevalent in the Canadian population, with 62 per cent of Canadian adults aged 45 to 85 reporting at least one exposure,” said lead author Divya Joshi from the McMaster University.

For the study, the team used data collected from nearly 45,000 participants enrolled in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), a large, national population-based study of health and aging.A

The participants completed questionnaires about adverse childhood experiences through telephone and face-to-face interviews between 2015 and 2018.

Childhood exposure to physical abuse, intimate partner violence and emotional abuse were the most prevalent types of adverse childhood experiences reported across all participants.

The researchers also found that reporting of adverse childhood events varied by demographic factors, such as age, sex, socioeconomic status, education and sexual orientation.

People younger than 65 years, women, those with less education, lower annual household income, and those of non-heterosexual orientation reported greater exposure.A

“We found that adverse childhood experiences were highly prevalent across all demographic groups, although some groups experienced an unequal or greater burden,” Joshi said.