Socio-Demographic and Environmental Determinants of Adverse Childhood Experience among School-Going Adolescents in Jimma town, Jimma, Southwest Ethiopia

Mekonnen Tsehay1, *, Mogesie Necho1, Asmare Belete1, Zelalem Belayneh2
1 Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and Health Science, Wollo University, Dessie, Ethiopia
2 Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and Health Science, Dilla University, Dilla, Ethiopia

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© 2021 Tsehay et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and Health Science, Wollo University, Po Box: 1145 Dessie, Ethiopia; E-mail:



Adverse childhood experience in adolescents is a global public health concern. Several risk factors have been identified so far across different parts of the world. However, there is a paucity of data in Ethiopia.


To determine the prevalence and associated factors of Adverse Childhood Experience among school-going adolescents retrospectively.


A cross-sectional school-based study was employed. Participants were selected using a multistage sampling technique. Adverse Childhood Experience Questionnaire Scale for childhood maltreatment. Multiple linear regressions were used to determine the association between Adverse Childhood Experience & associated factors.


A total of 546 adolescents participated in the study with a response rate of 86%. The mean (±SD) age of participants was 16.83 ± 1.26 years. The majority (442 (81%)) were studying in public schools and 104 (19%) in private schools. Results show that 51.1% reported at least one, and respondents most often faced two ACEs (29.4%), and as many as 10.4% reported at least four or more ACEs. According to the three categories of adverse childhood experience (ACE), from 329 female adolescents, 144(43.8%) had been abused physically, verbally, or sexually, 65(17.8%) had been neglected, and 169(51.1%) had been household dysfunctional. And also, from 217 male adolescents, 93(42.9%) had been abused physically, verbally, or sexually, 49(22%) had neglected, and 117(53.9%) had household dysfunction. Gender, social support, residence, educational status of parent, and having one or more chronic medical, mental, or neurological disorders were significantly associated with Adverse Childhood Experiences.


Results of the study show that there was a significant prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences. Adverse Childhood Experiences have a tremendous impact on future health, well-being, and opportunity. Reduction and prevention of Adverse Childhood Experiences are mandatory for all children to reach their full potential. Those who are already exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences also need social support, help them manage their experiences, and lead meaningful lives.

Keywords: Adverse childhood experience, Adolescents, Abuse, Household dysfunction, Neglect, Relationships.