Childhood adversity and COVID-19 outcomes in the UK Biobank

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Objectives: This study aims to investigate the association between childhood adversity and COVID-19-related hospitalisation and COVID-19-related mortality in the UK Biobank. Design: Cohort study. Setting: UK. Participants: 151 200 participants in the UK Biobank cohort who had completed the Childhood Trauma Screen were alive at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (January 2020) and were still active in the UK Biobank when hospitalisation and mortality data were most recently updated (November 2021). Main outcome measures: COVID-19-related hospitalisation and COVID-19-related mortality. Results: Higher self-reports of childhood adversity were related to greater likelihood of COVID-19-related hospitalisation in all statistical models. In models adjusted for age, ethnicity and sex, childhood adversity was associated with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.227 of hospitalisation (95% CI 1.153 to 1.306, childhood adversity z=6.49, p<0.005) and an OR of 1.25 of a COVID-19-related death (95% CI 1.11 to 1.424, childhood adversity z=3.5, p<0.005). Adjustment for potential confounds attenuated these associations, although associations remained statistically significant. Conclusions: Childhood adversity was significantly associated with COVID-19-related hospitalisation and COVID-19-related mortality after adjusting for sociodemographic and health confounders. Further research is needed to clarify the biological and psychosocial processes underlying these associations to inform public health intervention and prevention strategies to minimise COVID-19 disparities.

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Hanson, J. L., O’Connor, K., Adkins, D. J., & Kahhale, I. (2023). Childhood adversity and COVID-19 outcomes in the UK Biobank. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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