Current Epidemiology Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 423–441 | Cite as

The Role of Socioeconomic Interventions in Reducing Exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences: a Systematic Review

  • Emilie CourtinEmail author
  • Emily Allchin
  • Annie J. Ding
  • Richard Layte
Social Epidemiology (J Dowd, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Social Epidemiology


Purpose of Review

Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are associated with key risk factors for adult morbidity and mortality. Most interventions to date target proximal risk factors and do not account for the structural determinants shaping the risk of childhood adversity. This review summarizes recent findings regarding the impact of socioeconomic interventions on ACE.

Recent Findings

Thirty-five percent of reviewed socioeconomic interventions reported reductions in exposure to ACE. Effect sizes were modest for family financial problems, adverse parenting, household mental illness, child maltreatment and neglect; moderate to high for exposure to domestic violence, Home score, parental separation, childhood physical abuse and household criminality; and strongest for childhood victimization and substance abuse. Housing, conditional cash transfer and income supplementation interventions were the most promising interventions.


Current evidence suggests that upstream interventions can contribute to the reduction of ACE. Future research should expand this work beyond developed countries using robust evaluation designs.


Adverse childhood experiences Quasi-experiments Socioeconomic interventions 


Funding Information

This study was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (grant agreement no. 633666).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Emilie Courtin, Emily Allchin, and Richard Layte each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Annie J. Ding reports European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (grant agreement no. 633666).

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emilie Courtin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emily Allchin
    • 2
  • Annie J. Ding
    • 3
  • Richard Layte
    • 4
  1. 1.Harvard Center for Population and Development StudiesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Global Health and Social MedicineKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Imperial College Business SchoolImperial College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Department of SociologyTrinity College DublinDublinIreland

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