Socioeconomic position and adverse childhood experiences as risk factors for health-related behavior change and employment adversity during the COVID-19 pandemic: insights from a prospective cohort study in the UK

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Abstract

Background
Non-pharmaceutical interventions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 may have disproportionately affected already disadvantaged populations.
Methods
We analysed data from 2710 young adult participants of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. We assessed the associations of socioeconomic position (SEP) and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs, e.g. abuse, neglect, measures of family dysfunction) with changes to health-related behaviours (meals, snacks, exercise, sleep, alcohol and smoking/vaping), and to financial and employment status during the first UK lockdown between March-June 2020.
Results
Experiencing 4+ ACEs was associated with reporting decreased sleep quantity during lockdown (OR 1.53, 95% CI: 1.07-2.18) and increased smoking and/or vaping (OR 1.85, 95% CI: 0.99-3.43); no other associations were seen between ACEs or SEP and health-related behavior changes. Adverse financial and employment changes were more likely for people with low SEP and for people who had experienced multiple ACEs; e.g. a history of 4+ ACEs was associated with being furloughed or on other leave during lockdown (OR 1.92, 95% CI: 1.35-2.74)
Conclusions
In this sample of young adults, there was little evidence that lockdown worsened inequalities in health-related behaviors. However, adverse financial and employment consequences of lockdown were more likely to be experienced by people who have already experienced socioeconomic deprivation or childhood adversity, thereby widening social inequalities and demonstrating the need for support into adulthood for those with a history of ACEs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Public Health
DOIs
Publication statusSubmitted - 20 May 2021

Structured keywords

  • Covid19

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