Hemady, C. L., Speyer, L. G., Murray, A. L., Brown, R. H., Meinck, F., Fry, D., Do, H., Sikander, S., Madrid, B., Fernando, A., Walker, S., Dunne, M., Foley, S., Hughes, C., Osafo, J., Baban, A., Taut, D., Ward, C. L., Van Thang, V., Fearon, P., … Eisner, M. (2022). Patterns of adverse childhood experiences and associations with prenatal substance use and poor infant outcomes in a multi-country cohort of mothers: a latent class analysis. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 22(1), 505. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-022-04839-0
This paper explores the number and characterization of latent classes of adverse childhood experiences across the Evidence for Better Lives Study cohort and investigates how the various typologies link to prenatal substance use (i.e., smoking, alcohol, and illicit drugs) and poor infant outcomes (i.e., infant prematurity and low birth weight).
A total of 1,189 mother-infant dyads residing in eight diverse low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) were recruited.
Latent class analysis using the Bolck, Croon, and Hagenaars (BCH) 3-step method with auxiliary multilevel logistic regressions with distal outcomes were performed.
The LCA identified three high-risk classes and one low-risk class, namely: (1) highly maltreated (7%, n = 89), (2) emotionally and physically abused with intra-familial violence exposure (13%, n = 152), (3), emotionally abused (40%, n = 474), and (4) low household dysfunction and abuse (40%, n = 474). Overall, across all latent classes, there were low probabilities of prenatal substance use and poor infant outcomes. However, pairwise comparisons between classes indicate that class 1 and 3 had higher probabilities of prenatal illicit drug use compared to class 4. Additionally, class 2 had higher probability of low birth weight compared to the three remaining classes.
The results further our understanding of the dynamic and multifaceted nature of ACEs. More research grounded on LMICs is warranted with more attention to various parameters of risk exposure (i.e., severity, duration, chronicity).