Associations between Configurations of Childhood Adversity and Adult Mental Health Disorder Outcomes

Christina Kamis, Scott M. Lynch, William E. Copeland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The life course perspective and cumulative inequality theory suggest that childhood adversity, occurring during a sensitive period of the life course, can have long-term consequences for adult mental health and well-being. Yet, the long-term influence of adversity on adult outcomes may depend on both the features of adverse childhood experiences (e.g., the number, type, and co-occurrence of adversities) as well as the outcome assessed. Using latent class analysis applied to several waves of prospective data from the Great Smoky Mountains Study (GSMS; N = 1,420), we identify subpopulations that are similar in their adversity experiences before age 18. We then predict adult internalizing and substance use disorder diagnoses by adversity experience. Results reveal five distinct classes of adversity, with unique risks for specific diagnoses in adulthood.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-38
Number of pages16
JournalSociety and Mental Health
Issue number1
Early online dateOct 19 2023
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • adversities
  • childhood mental health
  • mental health
  • substance use/abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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