Childhood trauma among Chinese inmates

Han Liu, Shaanxi Normal University
Lucy F. Ackert, Kennesaw State University
Fang Chang, Shaanxi Normal University
Ruth Uwaifo Oyelere, Agnes Scott College


The long-term effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) negatively affect health, well-being, and life outcomes. We make use of a unique data set of survey responses from Chinese inmates to identify specific correlates of ACEs, measured by emotional abuse, emotional neglect, physical abuse, and childhood bullying. We find that having a troubled friend during childhood, parental alcohol use, and parental absence are positively correlated with all four measures of childhood trauma. In addition, an inmate's educational attainment has a strong relationship with self-reported trauma. Our data allow us to examine the relationships between life circumstances and ACEs for prison inmates, a group of people with poor life outcomes, thus providing direction for policy interventions.