Correlation found between childhood trauma and vaccine hesitancy: study

A correlation has been found between childhood trauma and mistrust of public health institutions, as well as vaccine hesitancy, in a study on 2,285 adult Welsh residents published to the British Medical Journal

The research found that of those surveyed — of which about half reported having adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) — 1 in 13 reported being vaccine hesitant, but this increased fourfold in those with multiple ACEs in their lifetime. 

The results were found across various age groups, though younger people and male respondents were more likely to be vaccine hesitant and against COVID-19 restrictions in general, regardless of having had ACEs or not.

Vaccine hesitancy in those ages 30 to 39 saw a rise from about 14 percent in those with no ACEs to about 33 percent in those with four or more ACEs in the Journal study.

Those who experienced ACEs also were more likely to want mandatory face coverings and social distancing to end and to feel unfairly restricted by the government.

Men and younger people also were more likely to feel unfairly restricted, and men were more likely to want the restrictions to end.

ACEs also contribute to a decrease in overall health and well-being.

“Achieving better compliance with pandemic and other public health advice is another reason to invest in safe and secure childhoods for all children which are free from ACEs and rich in sources of resilience. Such measures appear likely not only to reduce health-harming behaviours and ill health across the life-course but may also reduce the spread of COVID-19 or other infectious threats to public health that may materialise in subsequent decades,” wrote the researchers.

The researchers also highlighted that it was important to note that the majority of those who suffered ACEs were not vaccine hesitant and did follow COVID-19 restrictions.

Some potential limitations of the study include the self-reporting of the ACEs, which could lead to misremembering or misreporting, and a telephone survey participation level of about 36 percent that could elicit self-selection bias.

Tags Adverse childhood experiences british medical journal Child abuse childhood trauma coronavirus misinformation Vaccine hesitancy
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