Adverse Childhood Experiences


Adverse Childhood Experiences

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Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are childhood experiences that are traumatic enough to harm a child’s developing brain and cause health problems later in life. ¬†ACEs have been linked to chronic disease, violence, behavior problems, and most mental illnesses.

The ACE Study

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study Pyramid

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. The study is a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego.

More than 17,000 Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) members undergoing a comprehensive physical examination chose to provide detailed information about their childhood experience of abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction. To date, more than 50 scientific articles have been published and more than100 conference and workshop presentations have been made.

The ACE Study findings suggest that certain experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death as well as poor quality of life in the United States. It is critical to understand how some of the worst health and social problems in our nation can arise as a consequence of adverse childhood experiences. Realizing these connections is likely to improve efforts towards prevention and recovery.