Adverse childhood events, substance abuse, and measures of affiliation

Cheryl Zlotnick, Tammy Tam, Marjorie J. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adverse childhood events may influence later behaviors, including adulthood substance use and social affiliation. Studies have noted high prevalence rates of adverse childhood experiences and adulthood substance abuse among homeless adults. Using an existing longitudinal, countywide probability sample of 397 homeless adults, we examine the relationships among adverse childhood events on adulthood substance use, and the relationship of these variables to affiliation. Almost 75% of the sample had experienced an adverse childhood event. Path analysis indicated adulthood substance abuse mediated the inverse relationship between adverse childhood events and two measures of adulthood affiliation. Thus, although there is a relationship between adverse childhood events and adulthood substance use, it is adulthood substance use that determines most aspects of affiliation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1177-1181
Number of pages5
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (AA12019) and the National Institute of Mental Health (MH51651 and MH46104).


  • Alcohol
  • Foster care
  • Homelessness
  • Social affiliation
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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