Survey of adverse childhood experiences among Serbian university students




This survey of the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) was undertaken on a representative sample of 2381 first-year university students (864 males and 1517 females) from all six public universities in Serbia. The aims were to investigate the prevalence of ACEs in the young population and identify possible associations between different types and health-risk behaviours. Results show that respondents were most frequently exposed to psychological abuse (36.7%, 17.3% more than a few times), physical abuse (27.8%, 10.9%) and psychological neglect (15.7%, 7.7%). Sexual abuse was reported by 4.3% and physical neglect by 8.9%. Males had higher prevalence of exposure to physical abuse and neglect, and psychological and sexual abuse, and females to psychological neglect. The results also show that the
chances of taking part in health-risk behaviours increase when people are exposed to higher number of ACEs. These findings can help policy-makers to take informed actions to further prevent and reduce child maltreatment in Serbia.