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Adverse Childhood Experiences

According to the ACE Study, a decade-long and ongoing study being led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kaiser Health Plan’s Department of Preventive Medicine, “stressful or traumatic childhood experiences such as abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic violence, or growing up with alcohol or other substance abuse, mental illness, parental discord, or crime in the home … are a common pathway to social, emotional, and cognitive impairments that lead to increased risk of unhealthy behaviors, risk of violence or re-victimization, disease, disability and premature mortality.”[1]


The ACE Pyramid [2]


The Ace Pyramid


Advancements in neurobiology are providing new evidence that ACE's affect how the brain develops and functions, which directly impacts decision-making and behavior. These findings are providing credence to theoretical postulations that experiencing trauma during early in one’s life can, and probably will have, a severely detrimental impact on the individual’s future wellness. Identified behavioral and health-related problems include, but are not limited to, smoking, severe obesity, physical inactivity, depressed mood, suicide attempts, alcoholism, use of illicit drugs, promiscuity, a history of sexually transmitted diseases, heart disease, cancer, hepatitis, and poor self-rated health condition.[3]

Anecdotal Evidence / Personal Stories

On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Child Abuse Stories


[1] Anda, R. (2008). The Health and Social Impact of Growing Up With Adverse Childhood Experiences: The Human and Economic Costs of the Status Quo. Downloaded from on December 19, 2008.
[2] Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The ACE Pyramid (2008). Downloaded from on December 19, 2008.
[3] Felitti, V., Anda, R., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D., Spitz., A., Edwards, V., Koss, M., and Marks, J. Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14.4 (1998): 245-258.