TU33: Adverse Childhood Experiences – A Roadmap To Understanding And Treatment

by | Jun 16, 2017 | Attachment, Brain Science, Episodes, Neuroscience, Parenting, Personal Growth, Relationships, Therapy, Trauma

Show Notes


Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Roadmap To Understanding And Treatment
Show Notes
Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES)

ACES was a ground breaking study where over 17,000 members of a Kaiser Permanente HMO were surveyed about childhood exposure to trauma. They were asked about ten areas:

  1. Physical abuse
  2. Sexual abuse
  3. Emotional abuse
  4. Physical neglect
  5. Emotional neglect
  6. Mother treated violently
  7. Household substance abuse
  8. Household mental illness
  9. Parental separation or divorce
  10. Incarcerated household member

The study found that Adverse Childhood Experiences were common. They tended to occur together. And finally the higher the number of them an individual was exposed to the more predictive they were of future health, social and behavioral problems. Subsequent studies have confirmed these findings and continue to expand our understanding of the prevalence of exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences across different populations and geography.


The strong links to future health, social and behavioral problems has called attention to the need for interventions to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences and to treat individuals that already have an exposure to them. Interventions are being implemented in education, criminal justice, social services and many other areas. Some pediatricians are screening mothers and kids to identify risks and vulnerabilities or to understand behavior problems. Many schools focus on creating trauma-focused classrooms that help kids calm their nervous systems in order to allow them to focus on learning.


These exposures can become signposts or “witness marks” to point us toward where attention and treatment are needed to reduce future risks




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