The Effects of Individual and Dual ACE Domains on Binge Drinking: Comparisons by Gender

Zachary Giano, Andrew O’Neil, Randolph D. Hubach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) show predictive utility concerning binge drinking. However, the literature is limited by 1. a focus on cumulative ACEs with little regard to specific domains, 2. a focus on those with the highest ACE scores, and 3. little consideration for gender differences. These approaches are problematic as ACE categories are fundamentally different, yet little distinction is given to specific ACE domains. The current study investigates which individual and dual ACE domain combinations are associated with binge drinking. Methods: Data were obtained from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2011-2017; N = 80,391). A series of ANCOVAs were conducted to determine the association between single and dual combination ACE domains and binge drinking. Results: Results show gendered effects of ACEs on binge drinking such that at 0, 1, and 2 ACEs, males reported statistically higher rates. For males with exactly two ACEs, combinations of either sexual abuse or family incarceration presented the highest levels of binge drinking- with the highest mean binge drinking score being the exact combination of the two. This contrasts with males with 1 ACE, where experiencing family incarceration or sexual abuse, as a single domain, did not represent significant risk above the average of having a single ACE. Conclusions: Results suggest that males may be resilient to either of these domains as singular events, yet when found in combination, may present a synergistic effect that increases the likelihood of binge drinking. Due to lower overall binge drinking rates, no significant patterns were found among females.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1642-1650
Number of pages9
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2021


  • ACEs
  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Binge drinking


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