Author's Final Manuscript
Children and Youth Services Review
Studies have shown significant links between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and mental and behavioral health outcomes. However, limited research has examined these associations among Jamaican women.
We investigated the associations between individual (sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, and witnessing a mother being abused) and categorized (0, 1, 2, 3–4) ACEs and depression, anxiety, alcohol and marijuana use among Jamaican women.
Participants and setting
Data were obtained from the 2016 Women’s Health Survey (WHS)—a nationally representative sample of young Jamaican women aged 15–64 years.
A series of multivariate (OLS) and logistic regression analyses were conducted. OLS regression analyses were conducted to examine the individual and categorized effect of ACEs on depression, anxiety, and alcohol use. To examine the individual and categorized effect of ACEs on marijuana use, binary logistic regression analyses were run.
Exposure to physical abuse (B = 1.79), witnessing a mother being abused (B = 1.38), and having at least one adversity (B range = 0.73–3.98) in childhood were significant predictors of increased depressive symptoms. Sexual (B = 3.39), physical (B = 1.61), and emotional (B = 0.93) abuse, and being exposed to 2 or more ACEs (Brange = 2.82–3.54) were significantly associated with increased levels of anxiety. Sexual abuse (OR = 4.37), witnessing a mother being abused (OR = 2.20), and having 3–4 adversities (OR = 8.33) in childhood were associated with marijuana use. No significant association was found between individual nor categorized ACEs and alcohol use.
This study highlights the need for interventions and policies aimed at addressing ACEs to disrupt the sequalae of negative mental and behavioral outcomes.
"Lee, K. A., Priestley, S. R., and K. K. Hylton. 2022. "Mental health and behavioral outcomes among Jamaican women: The role of childhood abuse & witnessing parental violence." Children and Youth Services Review 140: 1-9. "
Available for download on Monday, September 01, 2025