Dr. Megan Quinn, assistant professor for the department of biostatistics and epidemiology in the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health, has published an article in the International Journal of Public Health. As reported in the article, “Methods for understanding childhood trauma: modifying the adverse childhood experiences international questionnaire for cultural competency,” Dr. Quinn and her co-authors, adapted the World Health Organization’s international questionnaire for adverse childhood experiences to be culturally appropriate for a low-resource, underserved community in South Africa.
[Photo: Dr. Megan Quinn]
Ms. Gabrielle Caldara, Ms. Heather Owens, Ms. Ifeoma Ozodiegwu, and Ms. Elaine Loudermilk, graduate students in the department of biostatistics and epidemiology, along with Dr. Jill Stinson of the department of psychology and College of Public Health alumna Ms. Kathleen Collins, are co-authors. Project Hope United Kingdom’s Thoughtful Path Program in Munsieville, South Africa was integral to the success of the project.
Adverse childhood experiences research based in the United States demonstrates that traumatic stress in childhood can cause negative physical and mental health outcomes. Many developing countries lack extensive research and comprehensive data on exposure to childhood trauma. The World Health Organization ACE international questionnaire (ACEIQ) highlights multiple types of abuse, neglect, and violence while broadening the definition of traumatic stress to include more globally relevant concerns.
The goal of the research project was to modify the questionnaire to use culturally appropriate questions and terminology for Munsieville, an undeveloped township in South Africa. Without adapting the questionnaire to use culturally appropriate questions and terminology, respondents may not have been able to provide appropriate responses.
After meeting to focus groups to modify the survey, it was given to local stakeholders for review and approval. The pilot study demonstrated that the modified questionnaire provides a comprehensive, and culturally appropriate, measure of childhood trauma, leading to increased community participation during a survey conducted in early 2017.