Trauma & Childhood Development

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We know that childhood trauma can and does create lifelong health consequences.

In our last post, we discussed what adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are and the importance of educating ourselves on this important topic. Now we look at the lasting consequences of ACEs as one of the root causes of prevalent lifelong health issues.

The ten ACEs as defined by the Kaiser Permanente study include: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, mental illness, incarcerated relative, mother treated violently, substance abuse, and divorce. There were 17,000 participants in the Kaiser Permanente study.

They found the following:

  • 63% of participants experienced at least one category of childhood trauma.1
  • 20% of participants experienced 3 or more categories of childhood trauma.1
  • Participants who experienced 6 + categories of childhood trauma are at risk of their lifespan being shortened by 20 years.1

The more categories of trauma experienced in childhood, the greater the likelihood of experiencing the physical and mental health consequences below:

With this understanding of how trauma affects children, professionals who work with children (psychologists, therapists, children’s advocacy centers, schools, etc.) are able to better properly diagnose and respond to the above behaviors. They understand trauma can affect the way brains develop and create lasting health issues into adulthood.

Watch the “60 Minutes” special with Oprah Winfrey as she reports on new methods being used to help adults who have experienced traumas in an effort to break the ACEs cycle.

This post is post number 2 of 3 in our ‘ACEs’ blog series. Check out blog one on why it’s important to change the conversation, and come back to find out more about how we can work together to prevent childhood trauma and foster resilience in children and adults. 

1. ACES Too High
2. Center for Disease Control

This article has been aggregated with permission from Darkness to Light:



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