Prevalence of and relationship between adverse childhood experiences and family context risk factors among children with intellectual disabilities and borderline intellectual functioning

Jessica Vervoort-Schel, Gabriëlle Mercera, Inge Wissink, Peer van der Helm, Ramón Lindauer, Xavier Moonen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are an overlooked risk factor for behavioural, mental and physical health disparities in children with intellectual disabilities (ID) and borderline intellectual functioning (BIF). Aims: To gain insight into the presence of the 10 original Wave II ACEs and family context risk variables in a convenience sample of children with ID and BIF in Dutch residential care. Methods and procedures: 134 case-files of children with ID (n = 82) and BIF (n = 52) were analysed quantitatively. Outcomes and results: 81.7 % of the children with ID experienced at least 1 ACE, as did 92.3 % of the children with BIF. The average number of ACEs in children with ID was 2.02 (range 0−8) and in children with BIF 2.88 (range 0−7). About 20 % of the children with moderate and mild ID experienced 4 ACEs or more. Many of their families faced multiple and complex problems (ID: 69.5 %; BIF 86.5 %). Multiple regression analysis indicated an association between family context risk variables and the number of ACEs in children. Conclusions and implications: The prevalence of ACEs in children with ID and BIF appears to be considerably high. ACEs awareness in clinical practice is vital to help mitigate negative outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103935
Number of pages12
JournalResearch in developmental disabilities
Early online date20 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Borderline intellectual functioning
  • Children
  • Family problems
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Residential care

Cite this