Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
'The CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse and neglect and later-life health and well-being.' Center for Disease Control website.
The study looks at the impact of the following ten forms of childhood trauma:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Physical neglect
- Emotional neglect
- Mother treated violently
- Household substance abuse
- Household mental illness
- Parental separation or divorce
- Incarcerated household member
'An ACE score is a tally of different types of abuse, neglect, and other hallmarks of a rough childhood. According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences study, the rougher your childhood, the higher your score is likely to be and the higher your risk for later health problems.' (www.npr.org)
A person's score out of 10 has a strong correlation with numerous health, social and behavioural problems in later life including:
- risky health behaviors;
- chronic health conditions;
- low life potential;
- early death.
The ACE Quizz can be used as a quick reference tool for discovering the extent of early trauma, and is also a helpful research tool. However, it is also important to bear in mind that, 'ACE scores don't tally the positive experiences in early life that can help build resilience and protect a child from the effects of trauma. Having a grandparent who loves you, a teacher who understands and believes in you, or a trusted friend you can confide in may mitigate the long-term effects of early trauma, psychologists say.' U.S. National Public Radio website.
- ACE Study: Adverse Childhood Experiences study, Center for Disease Control and Prevention at Kaiser Permanente's Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego
- Nadine Burke Harris TED Talk: Childhood trauma and long-term health.
- ACE questionnaire