Publication Date

2020

Document Type

Thesis

Committee Members

Raminta Daniulaityte, Ph.D. (Advisor); La Fleur Small, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Karen Lahm, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Abstract

The study examines adverse childhood experiences among individual who use illicit opioids, focusing on emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. The study uses data collected from a sample of 357 individuals with opioid use disorder who were recruited in the Dayton area between May 2017 and October 2018. The study builds on the life course and social learning theories to examine the association between childhood experiences and drug use behaviors in later life. The key aims of the study are to: 1) assess the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences in the community-recruited sample of individuals with opioid use disorder; 2) analyze the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and family history when growing up, including economic hardship and parental history of mental and substance use problems, and 3) analyze the associations between adverse childhood experiences and selected drug use characteristics, such as age of first use, frequency of use, and whether or not they inject. Participants were recruited used targeted and respondent-driven sampling. Structured interviews were conducted by trained interviewers and covered history and patterns of drug use, sociodemographic characteristics, and adverse childhood experiences (ACE). Descriptive statistics and univariate analyses were used to characterize the sample. Chi-square test was used for categorical variables. One-way ANOVA was used to assess differences in drug use characteristics (continuous variables) between those who experienced childhood abuse and those who did not. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to assess the relationships between age heroin initiation (dependent variable) and childhood abuse experiences (independent variable), controlling for socio-demographics and family history when growing up. Multivariate Logistic Regression analyses were used to assess the association between a) early initiation of alcohol use (dependent variable) and childhood abuse experiences (independent), controlling for socio-demographics and family history when growing up; and by injection heroin use (dependent variable) childhood abuse experiences (independent), controlling for sociodemographics and family history when growing up. Statistical analyses were conducted using SPSS. Out of a total sample of 357 participants, 50.4% were male and the majority (90.7%) were whites. Most participants reported emotional abuse at 57.3% ,53% reported physical abuse and 35.8% sexual abuse. 68.2% reported having experienced at least one or more childhood abuse experiences. Those who had reported at least one childhood abuse experience were more likely than those without childhood abuse to report earlier initiation of alcohol (13.61 vs. 15.40 years of age, p<0.001), heroin (26.61 vs 28.77 years old, p<0.05) and street fentanyl (33.4 vs 35.9 years old, p<0.05). Individuals who had experienced childhood abuse were significantly more likely to indicate that their mother had mental health and/or drug use problem, compared to those who did not report a history of childhood abuse (76.3% vs. 52.1%), and the differences were statistically significant (p<0.001). Individuals who had experienced childhood abuse were significantly more likely to report their father had mental health and/or drug use problem, in comparison to those who did not report a history of childhood abuse (74.9% vs. 52%), and the differences were statistically significant (p<0.001). Individuals who reported a history of childhood abuse were significantly more likely to report financial hardship when growing up, compared to individuals without childhood abuse experiences (79.3% vs. 57.8%), and the differences were statistically significant (p<0.001). The overall findings indicate high prevalence of childhood abuse among individuals with OUD and a need for trauma-informed care. Theoretical implications as well as suggested future research are discussed.

Page Count

76

Year Degree Awarded

2020

ORCID ID

0000-0002-1146-9264


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