• Joan Rothchild Hardin

Effects of Childhood Trauma on Lifetime Health


THE ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES STUDY (CDC, 2014) A partnership between Kaiser Permanente and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention produced one of the largest studies ever conducted to assess the connections between chronic, toxic stress caused by early adversity and health throughout the lifespan. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES) looked at multiple categories of childhood physical and emotional abuse and neglect, along with measures of household dysfunction (such as domestic violence, parental mental illness, substance abuse), and separation/abandonment/divorce. The study followed the medical status of 17,337 Kaiser Permanente HMO members who underwent a physical exam and also chose to provide information about their childhood experiences of abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction. These data were gathered between 1995-1997. Since that initial phase of the study, the results so far have been the basis of more than 50 scientific articles and more than 100 conferences and workshop presentations. The results of this landmark study have also spurred the collection of ACES data in other states. The high prevalence of childhood emotional, physical, and sexual abuse; neglect; and household dysfunction – and their lasting effects – found in this study may surprise you: PREVALANCE OF INDIVIDUAL ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES  (given as percentages)                                                                                            Women         Men ABUSE