Typologies of adverse childhood experiences and their relationship to incarceration in U.S. military veterans


This study examines the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and negative outcomes in adulthood that lead to the incarceration of military veterans. The results have implications for the help individuals may need when transitioning and adjusting to civilian life.


Numerous studies have reported that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with negative psychosocial outcomes in adulthood, but no study has examined the different typologies of ACEs and the relationship of these with adult incarceration in military veterans. The current study used latent class analysis to examine the existence of different childhood maltreatment and household dysfunction typologies in a sample of U.S. military veterans identified through the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III ((NESARC-III)). A total of 60.73% of veterans reported one or more ACEs. Four latent classes were identified and were named Low adversities, Moderate maltreatment with high household substance use, Severe maltreatment with moderate household dysfunction and Severe multi-type adversities. Relative to the Low adversities class, the three maltreatment/dysfunction classes had significantly elevated odds ratios (1.72–2.29) for adult incarceration, when controlling for sociodemographic characteristics and alcohol and drug use. The results point to the importance of examining childhood risk factors for incarceration and suggest that a certain sub-group of military personnel who are about to transition into the civilian life may need additional support to adjust and live successful lives.

Full Reference

Ross, J., Waterhouse-Bradley, B., Contractor, A. A. and Armour, C., 2018. Typologies of adverse childhood experiences and their relationship to incarceration in U. S. military veterans. Child Abuse & Neglect, 79, pp. 74-84.