Abstract: Disparities of ACEs in Interracial Families: Evidence from a Latinx Sample (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

503P Disparities of ACEs in Interracial Families: Evidence from a Latinx Sample

Saturday, January 15, 2022
Marquis BR Salon 6, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Xiafei Wang, PhD, Assistant Professor, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
Background and Purpose: The groundbreaking Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study has recognized childhood adversity as a “root” origin for health and human development. Unfortunately, data suggest that children from racial/ethnic minority groups endure more ACEs than White children. Though studies on racial disparities of ACEs emerged, less attention has been paid to ACEs of children in interracial families. Considering that there is an increase in the U.S. intermarriage rate with the highest amount of intermarriage in the Latinx population, an examination of the disparities of ACEs between the same racial and interracial families among the Latinx population is warranted.

Methods: Data were collected from a sub-sample from the Fragile Family and Child Well-being Studies (FFCWs), which included 1510 children with at least one Latinx background parent. FFCWs is a longitudinal birth cohort study recruiting parent-child dyads in 20 U.S. urban cities. ACEs were assessed by a cumulative score that summed ten types of childhood adversities experienced by the focal child at age three. This measure included each ACE item in the original ACEs study (except sexual abuse), as well as household financial difficulties. Descriptive statistics, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), and Chi-Square test were used to compare the prevalence of ACEs between children with two Latinx parents and children with one Latinx parent and one parent from other racial/ethnic groups.

Results: The sample consists of 1113 (73.7%) children living with two Latinx parents and 397 children in interracial families. Results from ANOVA and post hoc tests suggested that children with two Latinx parents experienced significantly lower ACEs (M = 1.79, SD = 1.50) than children in interracial families except for the Latinx mom and White dad family.

Latinx mom, White dad: M = 1.89, SD = 1.61, p = 0.99

Latinx mom, Black dad: M = 2.45, SD = 1.72, p = 0.27

White mom, Latinx dad: M = 2.51, SD = 1.65, p = 0.007

Black mom, Latinx dad: M = 2.55, SD = 1.84, p = 0.049

The lowest prevalence of physical abuse (3.4%; ꭓ2(4,936) = 25.51; p < 0.001 ), psychological abuse (10.0%; ꭓ2(4,946) = 19.944; p = 0.001), parental mental health problems (17.4%; ꭓ2(4,1259) = 14.144; p = 0.007), and parental substance abuse issues (7.2%; ꭓ2(4,1262) = 22.933; p < 0.001) were shown in two Latinx parents families, compared to the highest prevalence of physical abuse (16.4%) and psychological abuse (26.8%) in Latinx mom and Black dad families, as well as the highest prevalence of parental mental health (32.7%) and substance abuse issues (21.0%) in White mom and Latinx dad families.

Conclusions and Implications: This study indicated higher levels of ACEs experienced by children living in interracial families with one Latinx parent. Intermarriage can pose enormous challenges on couple relationships and parenting, which can create a stressful family environment for child development. For the Latinx population, acculturation stress can be a critical source of stressors for intermarriage. We advocate for culturally sensitive practices and family-focused policies to support interracial families and advance racial justice.