05-04-2022 | Empirical Research
Early Adverse Childhood Experiences and Social Skills Among Youth in Fragile Families
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Youth and Adolescence | Uitgave 8/2022Log in om toegang te krijgen
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with negative health and behavioral outcomes across the life course, yet little is known about the association between early ACEs and social skills among youth. As social skills are often shaped by home environments, and social skills developed in adolescence often persist into adulthood, understanding the processes that drive inequalities in developmental outcomes, such as social skills, is imperative. The present study used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCW; n = 3245) and ordinary least squares regression analyses to explore the associations between early ACEs by age 5 (i.e., cumulative, timing, duration) and youth social skills (components include: emotional maturity, communication skills, intentionality, and social competence). The weighted sample consisted of urban-born youth (44% female) with a mean age of 15. Racial/ethnic breakdown of the sample is 37% non-Hispanic White, 25% non-Hispanic Black, 28% Hispanic, and 10% ‘Other’. Overall, estimates suggest that nearly 79% of these youth experienced at least one ACE by age 5. Furthermore, the results indicated that as the number of early ACEs increased, deficits in social skills also increased. Moreover, the timing of exposure to early ACEs (i.e., high early, intermittent, chronic high) decreased social skills. The findings underscore the unique and robust links between early ACEs and youth social skills, underlining the importance of ACE exposure in social skill development.