Stacie Bell, PhD: Adverse Childhood Experiences in Pediatric SLE

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Stacie Bell, PhD, highlights the lasting effects of childhood adversities in patients with pediatric lupus.

In an interview with HCPLive, Stacie Bell, PhD, executive vice president of Lupus Therapeutics, the clinical research affiliate of the Lupus Research Alliance, explains how the formative experiences individuals face at the onset of their disease journey are often overlooked in various therapeutic areas, especially in lupus. These early negative encounters can significantly shape not only their lives but also influence their healthcare journey.

The study, funded by the Lupus Research Alliance, enrolled a cohort of pediatric patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), focused on these adverse childhood experiences and their enduring impact on how individuals perceive themselves and their condition.1 Findings highlighted the lasting effects of childhood adversities and urges us to consider these experiences when interacting with adults who have undergone such adverse events.Bell believes healthcare providers, in particular, should inquire about their early journey, understanding its impact and being mindful of its influence on their long-term experiences.

She found it surprising how these adverse childhood experiences could significantly impact an individual's self-perception later in life. It's an aspect that demands thoughtful consideration, enabling clinicians to care for the patient holistically, understanding their past experiences and their influence on their present state.

However, this study went beyond its specific findings by underscoring the critical nature of transitioning from pediatric to adult care for individuals. While pediatric rheumatologists often prepare patients for this transition, it's equally vital for adult rheumatologists to acknowledge these childhood experiences. Awareness of these findings allows adult care providers to consider various aspects, be it executive functioning or emotional considerations, providing comprehensive care tailored to the adult patient's unique needs.


  1. FevrierS, Hendrikx O, Danguecan A, Jeyanathan A, et al. Adverse Childhood Experiences in a Paediatric Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Cohort. Presented at: American College of Rheumatology Convergence 2023. San Diego, CA. November 10-15, 2023.