Adverse Childhood Experiences and the Onset of Aggression and Criminality in a Forensic Inpatient Sample

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Offenders and persons with serious mental illness experience disproportionate exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). This study examines prevalence, distribution, and correlates of ACEs in 182 male and female forensic psychiatric inpatients in secure care. Descriptive statistics, chi-squares analysis, ANOVA, and logistic regression were used to describe ACEs by race and gender and to identify associations between ACEs and onset of aggression, arrest, and psychiatric hospitalization. Participants evidenced significant exposure to ACEs, with significant differences by race and gender. ACE score, race, and foster care or investigations of child abuse were significant predictors of outcomes related to aggression and criminality.