Child maltreatment and blood pressure in young adulthood


Gooding, H. C., Milliren, C., McLaughlin, K. A., Richmond, T. K., Katz-Wise, S. L., Rich-Edwards, J., & Austin, S. B. (2014). Child maltreatment and blood pressure in young adulthood. Child Abuse & Neglect , 38 (11), 1747–1754.

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Adverse childhood experiences are associated with hypertension in older adults. This study assessed whether an association between child maltreatment and blood pressure is detectable in young adults and whether any association differs by sex or is modified by genetic polymorphisms known to be involved in stress sensitivity. We examined these patterns in a sample of 12,420 young adults ages 24-32 years who participated in Wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Participants retrospectively reported history of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse before age 18 years. Participants with a systolic blood pressure (SBP) >=140 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure (DBP) >=90 mmHg were classified as hypertensive. We used sex-stratified linear and logistic regression models to assess associations between each type of childhood maltreatment and SBP, DBP, and hypertension. We created interaction terms to assess for effect modification of any relationship between maltreatment and blood pressure by sex or SLC64A genotype. Fifteen percent of females and 31.5% of males were hypertensive. Frequent physical abuse in childhood was reported by 5%, frequent emotional abuse by 12%, and any sexual abuse by 5%. No association was observed between abuse history and blood pressure in either males or females, nor was effect modification present by SLC64A genotype. Child maltreatment exposure was not associated with blood pressure or hypertension in young adults in this study. Future studies should investigate additional critical windows for the effect of child maltreatment on cardiovascular health.

Last updated on 09/13/2018