Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s)


Adverse Childhood Experiences

In 2015 Dr. Robert Block, former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics was quoted as saying “Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are the single greatest unaddressed public health threat facing our nation today”. ACEs are events or happenings that occur in childhood (including the teen years) that can be classed as traumatic. While we are all familiar with physical trauma, that associated with mental health or behavioral development is perhaps less clear to many of us. A large body of research conducted and coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified these childhood adverse events, classified and scored them. The ACE score is a simple accumulation of events from 0 to 10. The higher the score the greater the degree of a range of risks (see diagram below) across the whole human condition that can manifest themselves adversely in later life. Note that the whole pyramid model deals with escalating risk, and life has no guarantees. Whilst adverse experiences are predictive of longer lasting issues, an absence of such experiences is no guarantee of a positive life outcome. Conversely, a child who has had multiple adverse experiences is not guaranteed to suffer long lasting effects.


What is known about childhood / teen adversity and life-long health and social risks

As the number of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) increases so does the risk for the following*:

  • 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

*This list is not exhaustive.

MyFampal aims through rigorous identification of early signs and scientifically robust solutions to pre-empt and prevent the escalation of the consequences of ACEs. It cannot prevent the occurrence of the issue but we plan to be able to mitigate the consequences.


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