• Adverse Childhood Experiences Study

    This study is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. Read More
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Costs of Ignoring Child Maltreatment

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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 study is a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente's Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego.

More than 17,000 Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) members undergoing a comprehensive physical examination chose to provide detailed information about their childhood experience of abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction. To date, more than 50 scientific articles have been published and more than 100 conference and workshop presentations have been made.

The ACE Study findings suggest that certain experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death as well as poor quality of life in the United States. It is critical to understand how some of the worst health and social problems in our nation can arise as a consequence of adverse childhood experiences. Realizing these connections is likely to improve efforts towards prevention and recovery.

ACE Pyramid 

Major Findings

Childhood abuse, neglect, and exposure to other traumatic stressors which we term adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are common. Almost two-thirds of our study participants reported at least one ACE, and more than one of five reported three or more ACE. The short- and long-term outcomes of these childhood exposures include a multitude of health and social problems1.

The ACE Study uses the ACE Score, which is a total count of the number of ACEs reported by respondents. The ACE Score is used to assess the total amount of stress during childhood and has demonstrated that as the number of ACE increase, the risk for the following health problems increases in a strong and graded fashion:

    • Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
    • Depression
    • Fetal death
    • Health-related quality of life
    • Illicit drug use
    • Ischemic heart disease (IHD)
    • Liver disease
    • Risk for intimate partner violence
    • Multiple sexual partners
    • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
    • Smoking
    • Suicide attempts
    • Unintended pregnancies
    • Early initiation of smoking
    • Early initiation of sexual activity
    • Adolescent pregnancy

1 http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/findings.html

Prevalence (%) of Emotional, Physical and Sexual Abuse

* From ACE Study

Prevalence (%) of Emotional and Physical Neglect

* From ACE Study

Child Abuse: The Effects and Impact

  • Putting Isolation on Ice +

    “I’m all alone and nobody understands me or what I’m going through.”  As an adult survivor of child abuse and Read More
  • Adult Survivors' Attachment Styles +

    Children are born with needs and feelings. Infants develop internal models from day one as to how they feel about Read More
  • Effects of Maltreatment on Brain Development +

    Scientists are beginning to see evidence of altered brain functioning as a result of early abuse and neglect. Read More
  • Long Term Effects of Abuse +

    Some common effects that adult survivors must deal with as a result of their abuse. Read More
  • Sibling Incest +

    One of the deepest held secrets in families is siblings incest. It is not as uncommon as you might think. Read More
  • Invalidation as A Form of Abuse +

    Telling children to "do as I say" may work temporarily when you're frustrated, but what does it really teach them. Read More
  • Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome +

    A theory developed by Dr. Summit that helps to explain how children interpret their abuse and cope with it. Read More
  • Cycle of Child Abuse Trauma +

    Diane Champé explains her theory about how traumatic reactions from childhood abuse become pervasive into adult functioning, often times without Read More
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Theories of Child Abuse

  • Social Learning Theory +

    According to this theory, behavior is learned through two methods: We either learn by being rewarded for our actions (instrumental Read More
  • Attachment Theory +

    Attachment theorists believe humans develop behaviors as a result of how their caregivers nurture them. According to attachment theory, the Read More
  • Ecological Theory +

    Ecological theory holds that abuse and neglect result from multiple factors. These are divided into four systems: individual, family, community, Read More
  • Family Systems Theory +

    This theory is similar to ecological theory in that both focus on the entire family unit when assessing the needs Read More
  • Self-Efficacy Theory +

    This theory focuses on how personal characteristics of the child, and especially the parent, influences family functioning. Self-efficacy theory addresses Read More
  • Resilience Theory +

    Historically, child abuse and neglect research and interventions were grounded in the belief that inevitably the victim is damaged by Read More
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