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Adverse childhood experiences in military, veteran, and civilian families

APA Citation:

Hinojosa, M. S., Hinojosa, R., Condon, J., & DaSilva, S. (2023). Adverse childhood experiences in military, veteran, and civilian families. Armed Forces & Society. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/0095327X231161365

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study examined the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) among children in civilian, active-duty, and Veteran families using a national sample of 56,655 children. Parents reported on 9 ACEs their child may have experienced (e.g., witnessing abuse, parental substance use, divorce), as well as child factors (e.g., mental health) and family factors (e.g., family structure). Both similarities and differences in the prevalence of ACEs emerged across groups.


Child maltreatment

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Child of a service member or veteran
Military families


Childhood (birth - 12 yrs)
Adolescence (13 - 17 yrs)


Cross sectional study
Quantitative Study


Hinojosa, Melanie Sberna, Hinojosa, Ramon, Condon, Josalie, DaSilva, Sarah


Adverse childhood experiences are traumatic early life experiences that can lead to poorer mental, physical, and social outcomes. Children in military and veteran families can face unique challenges compared with civilian families. This study utilizes data from 2017?2019 National Survey of Children?s Health to examine 56,655 children living in military, veteran, and civilian families to predict the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences. Findings indicate that children living in veteran families (compared with civilian families) have higher odds of witnessing parents use violence and witnessing parents with alcohol or substance use problems. Children in military families had higher odds of divorce and lower odds of experiencing parental death. It is also noted that children living in military, veteran, and civilian families are similar across other ACEs including the incarceration of a parent, child as victim of violence, living with family with mental illness, unfair treatment because of race, and difficulty covering basics like food and housing.

Publication Type:

REACH Publication


adverse childhood events, ACEs, military families, veteran families, civilian families

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  July 2023

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