Adverse Childhood Experiences
The Center for Disease Control sponsored a study on the impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), originally from 1995-1997 with ongoing data collection since. They originally studied 10 categories of ACEs:
- Physical neglect
- Emotional neglect
- Physical abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Parental abandonment
- Having a family member in jail
- Having a mother who is a victim of domestic abuse
- Having a parent with a mental illness
- Having a parent with a substance abuse problem
Updated studies have since included childhood experiences such as facing racism or living in a violent neighborhood.
They found that both positive and negative childhood experiences impact children’s futures. Robert Anda, who is the co-principal investigator of the original CDC study, states that “ACEs destabilize relationships, family, households and community” (1).
In particular, ACEs correlate with greater levels of “future violence victimization and perpetration” and have an impact on the “lifelong health and opportunity” of children. The more ACEs that children experience, the higher their risk of facing medical, mental health, and social problems as they enter adulthood. (2,3)
Below is pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris’ TED Talk about how childhood trauma effects health across a lifetime: