Association between ACEs and the prevalence of specific negative childhood behaviors

Tanner Stone, Zach Monahan, Abby Hogan, Micah Hartwell

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Background: Adverse childhood experiences—stressful or traumatic events that occur to children during their development—are frequently associated with adult substance use, injury, violence, and a lower life expectancy, but also have been shown to have an immediate impact on negative behaviors during childhood. Insight into the association between ACEs and the presence of specific negative behaviors within conduct disorder diagnostic criteria has been understudied. Thus, our primary objective was to investigate the association between ACE scores and various negative childhood behaviors.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of the 2022 National Health Interview Survey for Children. After calculating cumulative ACEs among respondents, which were categorized from 0 ACEs, 1-3 ACEs, and 4+ ACEs, we reported the prevalence of negative behaviors among ACE categories among children 5-17. We then used binary and multivariable logistic regression to measure, via odds ratio (OR) and adjusted odds ratios (AOR), the increased likelihood for individuals with higher ACEs to display negative behaviors.

Results: Increasing ACEs was found to be significantly associated with decreased reporting that the child aged 5-17 shares toys/games (P < .001), and is generally well-behaved (P = .015). Increased ACEs was also associated with increased rates of the child losing their temper often (P < .0001), fighting with other children (P < .0001), often lying or cheating (P < .0001), stealing (P < .0001), and having difficulties with emotions (P < .0001). Two traits were found not significantly associated with ACE scores: being considerate of others’ feelings (P = 0.58), and being helpful when someone is hurt, upset, or ill (P = 0.53). Further, our logistic regression found that compared to children with 0 ACEs, individuals with 4+ ACEs were more likely (AOR: 5.75; 95% CI: 3.68-8.98) to be reported as having difficulties with emotions, stealing (AOR: 5.46; 95% CI: 2.69-11.09), and fighting with other children (AOR: 4.96; 95% CI: 2.87-8.56).

Conclusion: Insight into how adverse childhood experiences are associated with specific behaviors, can provide insight for caregivers and healthcare providers into these behaviors, and how they contribute to the overall behavioral disorder. This understanding can provide points for more specific and personalized intervention strategies. Further insight into how the prevalence of these behaviors develops as the child ages could provide further insight into the ideal timing of intervention strategies.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 16 Feb 2024
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Week 2024
- Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, United States
Duration: 13 Feb 202417 Feb 2024


Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Week 2024
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • ACEs
  • Negative Childhood Behaviors
  • Conduct Disorder


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