Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with severe problems later in life. This study examines how eleven types of ACEs and mental health care use history are related to current psychological dysfunction among multi-problem young adults. A sample of 643 multi-problem young adult men (age 18–27) gave informed consent for us to collect retrospective regional psychiatric case register data and filled out questionnaires. ACEs were highly prevalent (mean 3.6, SD 2.0). Logistic regression analysis showed that compared with participants who experienced other ACEs, participants who experienced psychological problems in their family and grew up in a single-parent family were more likely to have used mental health care, and physically abused participants were less likely to have used mental health care. Linear regression analyses showed a dose–response relationship between ACEs and internalizing and externalizing problems. Linear regression analyses on the single ACE items showed that emotional abuse and emotional neglect were positively related to internalizing problems. Emotional and physical abuse and police contact of family members were positively related to externalizing problems. While multi-problem young adults experienced many ACEs, only a few ACEs were related to mental health care use in childhood and adolescence. Long-term negative effects of ACEs on psychological functioning were demonstrated; specifically, emotional abuse and emotional neglect showed detrimental consequences. Since emotional abuse and emotional neglect are not easily identified and often chronic, child health professionals should be sensitive to such problems.

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Keywords Adverse childhood experiences, Mental health care use, Multi-problem, Psychological dysfunction, Young adults
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Journal European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
van Duin, L. (Laura), Bevaart, F, Zijlmans, J. (Josjan), Luijks, M.-J.A. (Marie-Jolette A.), Doreleijers, T, Wierdsma, A.I, … Popma, A. (Arne). (2018). The role of adverse childhood experiences and mental health care use in psychological dysfunction of male multi-problem young adults. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. doi:10.1007/s00787-018-1263-4