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Background: Adverse childhood experiences have been linked to numerous adverse health outcomes including chronic health conditions, risky sexual health behaviors, depression, and early death. Understanding the relationship between adverse childhood events and the subsequent impact on the health of adults who live in rural areas may help address the health disparities often faced by these individuals.
Methods: The current study was part of a clinical collaboration with Sustaining Hoosier Communities and an undergraduate nursing population health course. Participant’s completed two evidence-based assessments: 1) the Adverse Childhood Events Survey; and 2) The UCLA Loneliness Scale. Results from both surveys were entered into SPSS Version 26 for descriptive analysis.
Results: 9 participants completed the Adverse Childhood Events Survey and 10 participants completed the UCLA Loneliness Scale. 67% (n=6) of those surveyed reported 3 or more adverse childhood events, indicating they are at highest risk of negative health outcomes compared to individuals who experience 0-2 adverse childhood events. 50% of those surveyed reported a Loneliness score between 41-60 indicating a moderate to high loneliness that may be related to employment and health issues, and chronic illness and early death.
Conclusions: A large percentage reported a high number of adverse childhood events with a medium to high level of loneliness which may be a function of limited preventive and mental health resources in rural areas. Our results also suggest potential gaps in knowledge regarding parenting/life skills that may prohibit exposure to traumatic childhood events.