2014 Survey

Report: 52% of Shelby County Adults Experienced a Traumatic Event During Childhood

ACEsurvey_Memphis_summary_thumbOn January 22, 2015, the ACE Center Task Force of Shelby County 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 group also unveiled a first-of-its-kind parenting resource intended to prevent those traumatic childhood experiences called “Universal Parenting Places.”

According to the Task Force report, “Adverse Childhood Experiences in Shelby County Tennessee,” adults of all races and ethnicities report having experienced ACEs. For the purpose of the survey, ACEs include abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction.

Key Findings


  • 52 percent of adults in Shelby County report having experienced at least one ACE
  • Individuals reporting four or more ACEs have heightened risk for negative adult social and health outcomes
  • The most prevalent ACEs in Shelby County are substance abuse, emotional abuse, and violence between adults in the home
  • Shelby County has higher prevalence of childhood sexual abuse and violence between adults in the home than the state and the nation


Related Resources




“Adverse Childhood Experiences in Shelby County Tennessee” data were collected through a confidential, random telephone survey of more than 1,500 adults throughout Shelby County. The Philadelphia-based Public Health Management Corpo­ration conducted the survey in the summer of 2014.

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