Early school suspensions for children with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)

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Children with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have difficulty adapting to the school context and may therefore be more likely to be suspended. We examined the association between ACEs and suspensions using linked administrative data on children born in Western Australia from July 2003–June 2004 who attended a government school during 2009–2012 (N = 15,109). During pre-primary to grade 3, 378 children (2.5%) were suspended; 60% of these children had ACEs. Multilevel multinomial logistic regressions revealed that children with early childhood ACEs had around 2-times greater odds of being suspended once or multiple times, compared to children without ACE exposure. Children with school-age ACEs also had greater odds of single or multiple suspensions (1.87-times and 2.92-times greater, respectively). The odds of suspension increased 4–7% with each additional ACE exposure. Results highlight the need for early and intensive wraparound services for children with ACEs, to address the maintaining factors for behavioural issues.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101300
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


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