Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
A landmark study on the effects of “adverse childhood experiences,” known as the ACE study, confirms both the extraordinary pervasiveness of trauma and the nature and extent of its impact on physical, emotional, and psychological health, as well as its social impact. The study, a collaboration between Kaiser Permanente and the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), found that approximately 64% of children experience at least one adverse experience (e.g., abuse, neglect, incarcerated parent, divorce, etc.) and 20% experience 3 or more. In addition, it was found that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are strongly related to development and prevalence of risk factors for health (e.g., obesity, smoking, and drug use) and social well-being throughout the lifespan. Exposure to such events has been shown to increase the child’s short- and long-term social-emotional and behavioral struggles (e.g., anxiety, acting out behaviors, impulsivity, inattention, depression, etc.) and therefore often is misdiagnosed as another disorder (e.g., ADHD, ODD, Bipolar Disorder). Unfortunately, these children typically do not receive the appropriate treatment. Study findings repeatedly reveal a graded dose-response relationship between ACEs and negative health and well-being outcomes across the life course.