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OBJECTIVES: To examine the prevalence of child and family characteristics associated with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in Hispanic children in immigrant families compared with Hispanic children in US-native families.

METHODS: Data were from the nationally representative 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health. Parent-reported child ACE exposure was classified as no ACEs (0), low ACEs (1), or high ACEs (≥2). By using multinomial logistic regression, we evaluated the odds of low or high ACE exposure versus no ACE exposure by immigrant family status and child and family characteristics (eg, insurance status, child health status, or household-to-income ratio).

RESULTS: The study sample included 12 162 Hispanic children. More children in immigrant families lived ≤200% of the federal poverty level compared with children in US-native families (80% vs 47%, respectively; P < .001). Thirty percent of children in US-native families reported high ACEs compared with only 16% of children in immigrant families (P < .001). The odds of high ACE exposure versus no ACE exposure for children in immigrant families compared with US-native children was 0.46 (95% confidence interval: 0.34-0.61). Child and family characteristics did not explain the difference in odds of ACE exposure by immigrant family status.

CONCLUSIONS: Children in immigrant families had significantly lower odds of ACE exposure despite higher prevalence of poverty. This may not reflect a true health advantage in this population. There may be unmeasured factors that buffer children in immigrant families from ACE exposure, or ACE questions may not capture the adverse experiences specific to immigrant families.


Caballero, T. M., Johnson, S. B., Buchanan, C. R. M., & DeCamp, L. R. (2017). Adverse childhood experiences among Hispanic children in immigrant families versus US-native families. Pediatrics, 140(5), e20170297.


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