childhood adversity, adversity childhood experiences, low-income women, workforce preparation


Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been linked to poorer mental and physical health in adulthood. We examine the experiences of low-income women (N = 884) receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance through a state workforce service agency. Participants averaged 4.66 out of 10 ACEs. Higher ACE scores were significantly associated with increased odds of: any physical health issue, fair/poor physical health, any mental health issue, fair/poor mental health, depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and drug misuse. We discuss implications for state TANF agencies and others administering employment programs, and recommend flexibility in eligible participation activities, including activities targeting trauma-related barriers.

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