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10-07-2018 | Pediatric | Article

Adverse childhood experience and rheumatic diseases

Clinical Rheumatology

Authors: Ana Paula Lopes Luiz, Heloisa de Alencar Antico, Thelma Larocca Skare, Angelica Beate Winter Boldt, Renato Nisihara

Publisher: Springer London


It has been suggested that the adaptive stress response may be disrupted by life adverse events such as childhood maltreatment. To investigate if the number of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) increases susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), spondyloarthritis (SpA), scleroderma (SSc), and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we interviewed 315 patients with rheumatic disease (100 SLE; 40 SSc; 60 SpA; 115 RA) and 272 controls, using questions of the ACEs study questionnaire validated to ask about experiences of childhood abuse, negligence, domestic violence, and household dysfunctions. The questionnaire score ranges from zero (best result) to 8 (worst scenario). Patients and controls did not differ regarding the median number of ACEs (3 in both groups, patient IQR = 2.5–5 vs. control IQR = 2–5, p = 0.45). Among the patients, 63.8% (201/315) presented ACE score ≥ 3, compared with 59.9% (163/272) of the controls (p = 0.31). The proportion of patients with at least 3 ACEs did also not differ among those with different rheumatic diseases. Specifically, 64% (64/100) of those with SLE, 60% (24/40) of those with SSc, 60% (36/60) of those with SpA, and 66.9% (77/115) of those with RA reported at least 3 ACEs. There was also no difference between the distribution of ACE scores and number of individuals with ACEs ≥ 3 between patients with different rheumatic diseases and controls. Nevertheless, there was a trend for association between higher ACE score and susceptibility to RA (p = 0.06). In this setting, the occurrence of ACEs was not associated with susceptibility to rheumatic diseases in adulthood.

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