Adverse Childhood Experiences, Tobacco Use, and Obesity: A Crowdsourcing Study

Amy Lynn Meadows, Justin C. Strickland, M. Spencer Kerr, Abner O. Rayapati, Craig R. Rush

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

16 Scopus citations


Background: Exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) increases health risk behavior in adulthood and is a risk for premature mortality. For example, ACEs are associated with both tobacco smoking and obesity, which remain significant health challenges for many adults, despite widespread knowledge about the risks. Objective: The present investigation used a novel online crowdsourcing platform ( mechanical turk) to study the relationship between ACEs and later tobacco smoking and obesity. Methods: Participants were recruited based on smoking (n = 74 smokers; n = 75 nonsmokers) and stratified based on obesity (n = 52 BMI ≥ 30; n = 97 BMI < 30). Participants had no recent history of other substance use, except alcohol. The relationship between ACE score and smoking and obesity categories was analyzed using logistic regression. Results: The average age of the sample was 38.6-years old and was mostly female (66.4%), employed (82.6%) and college educated (63.1%). Those with 4+ ACEs had a significantly greater odds of cigarette use. Any ACEs exposure was associated with a significantly greater odds of obesity. Conclusions/Importance: Findings are concordant with previous studies and suggest crowdsourcing is a viable platform for studying ACEs and health behavior. Access to large samples and specific populations provided by crowdsourcing could help examine theoretical models about how exposure to ACEs could be connected to later adoption of high-risk behaviors such as tobacco cigarette smoking and obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1743-1749
Number of pages7
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number10
StatePublished - Aug 24 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Trauma
  • adverse childhood experiences
  • mTurk
  • obesity
  • tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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