According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. The original survey and its associated “ACE scores” were a collaboration between the CDC and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego, CA. Participants were recruited to the study between 1995 and 1997 and have participated in long-term follow up regarding their health outcomes.
What are Adverse Childhood Experiences?
When young children experience chronic exposure to adverse events, the effect is toxic. Research and the ongoing ACE Study findings show these “adverse childhood experiences” and the resulting “toxic stress” undermine a child’s mental, physical and behavioral health, and persist throughout adulthood. For the purpose of the ACE Survey, adverse childhood experiences include:
– Alcoholism in family systems
– Child abuse
– Domestic violence
– Dysfunctional family
– Effects of domestic violence on children
– Post-traumatic stress disorder
– Psychological abuse
– Verbal abuse
Surveying Adverse Childhood Experiences in Shelby County
Shelby County is experiencing high levels of ill health, obesity and violence. To bring about meaningful change, we must look to and address the root causes of these behaviors in our community.
On January 22, 2015, the Foundation released data showing a direct link between chronic exposure to traumatic events throughout childhood, known as “adverse childhood experiences” or “ACEs,” and negative behaviors and health conditions as adults.
The Foundation administered a randomized, confidential telephone survey to 1,506 Shelby County residents containing questions about childhood maltreatment and family dysfunction, as well as questions regarding current health status and behaviors. The survey was conducted throughout Shelby County from July 10 through August 13, 2014.