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  • Charla Adams

Adverse Childhood Experiences


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study reviews how childhood experiences have an impact on future violence victimization and perpetration.


At Brugmansia Counseling, we are counselors who can help children cope with ACEs and counsel adults who have lived through them.


It is important to understand that it can be difficult to identify how ACEs may be impacting your life and well-being. Allow us to work with you and the ones you care about to assist you.


The ACE Pyramid

The ACE Pyramid is the framework for the ACE Study. ACEs are strongly related to to development of risk factors for disease, and well-being throughout the life course.


What are Adverse Childhood Experiences?

Events that have happened in the first 18 years of life:

Abuse

  • Emotional abuse: A parent, stepparent, or adult living in your home swore at you, insulted you, put you down, or acted in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt.

  • Physical abuse: A parent, stepparent, or adult living in your home pushed, grabbed, slapped, threw something at you, or hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured.

  • Sexual abuse: An adult, relative, family friend, or stranger who was at least 5 years older than you ever touched or fondled your body in a sexual way, made you touch his/her body in a sexual way, attempted to have any type of sexual intercourse with you.

Household Challenges

  • Mother treated violently: Your mother or stepmother was pushed, grabbed, slapped, had something thrown at her, kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, hit with something hard, repeatedly hit for over at least a few minutes, or ever threatened or hurt by a knife or gun by your father (or stepfather) or mother’s boyfriend.

  • Household substance abuse: A household member was a problem drinker or alcoholic or a household member used street drugs.

  • Mental illness in household: A household member was depressed or mentally ill or a household member attempted suicide.

  • Parental separation or divorce: Your parents were ever separated or divorced.

  • Criminal household member: A household member went to prison.

Neglect

  • Emotional neglect: Someone in your family helped you feel important or special, you felt loved, people in your family looked out for each other and felt close to each other, and your family was a source of strength and support. (2)

  • Physical neglect: There was someone to take care of you, protect you, and take you to the doctor if you needed it (2), you didn’t have enough to eat, your parents were too drunk or too high to take care of you, and you had to wear dirty clothes.

(2) Items were reverse-scored to reflect the framing of the question.


ACEs Prevalence

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kaiser Permanente. The ACE Study Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2016.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kaiser Permanente. The ACE Study Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2016.

Findings

As the number of ACEs increases so does the risk for the following (list is not exhaustive):

  • Alcoholism and alcohol abuse

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

  • Depression

  • Fetal death

  • Health-related quality of life

  • Illicit drug use

  • Ischemic heart disease

  • Liver disease

  • Poor work performance

  • Financial stress

  • Risk for intimate partner violence

  • Multiple sexual partners

  • Sexually transmitted diseases

  • Smoking

  • Suicide attempts

  • Unintended pregnancies

  • Early initiation of smoking

  • Early initiation of sexual activity

  • Adolescent pregnancy

  • Risk for sexual violence

  • Poor academic achievement

Association between ACEs and negative outcomes

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kaiser Permanente. The ACE Study Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2016.

This blog post summarizes the findings of this report. The full report is here and is an excellent resource.


For more information about ACEs please contact me at 248-987-7996.