Parents' adverse childhood experiences and mental health screening using home visiting programs: A pilot study

Katie Johnson, Alicia Woodward, Sadie Swenson, Christine Weis, Margene Gunderson, Marilyn Deling, Valeria Cristiani, Brian Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with adult high-risk behaviors and diseases. There is value in screening parents for ACEs given the repercussions parental ACEs may have on parenting behaviors and child development. The primary aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of parental ACE screening in the home setting. A secondary aim was to evaluate whether or not maternal ACEs correlated with maternal mental health measures. Methods: Two home visiting programs that support early childhood development and conduct parental mental health screening implemented ACE screening for parents of infants <1 year of age. Descriptive statistics were produced for population surveillance of ACEs as well as standard practice screens for depression, anxiety, substance use, and intimate partner violence. Logistic models were used to examine associations between ACE score and mental health measures. Results: A total of 110 parents completed the ACE screen. All possible ACE score outcomes were represented (0–10). A trend toward association of positive prenatal maternal depression screen with ACE score was identified (p =.05). Conclusion: This novel prospective home-based screening program for parental ACEs was feasible and identified a trend toward increasing ACE score association with positive prenatal maternal depression screen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-530
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • adverse childhood experiences
  • advocacy
  • community-based nursing
  • infant health
  • mental health
  • parent–child relationship
  • public health nursing practice
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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