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. Findings suggest that certain childhood experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death as well as poor quality of life in the United States.
The study's researchers came up with an ACE Score to explain a person's risk for chronic diseases. The ACE Score is used to assess the total amount of stress during childhood and has demonstrated that as your ACE Score increases, so does the risk of disease, social and emotional problems. The good news is that this is not set in stone. Our brain and body have a natural capacity to heal and process difficult experiences. Trauma-informed therapies such as EMDR have been shown to change this trajectory for the better allowing people to live happier, healthier lives.
Find Your ACE Score
You get one point for each type of trauma. The higher your ACE score, the higher your risk of health and social problems. Click the link for the ACE Questionnaire.
The study is an ongoing collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kaiser Permanente's Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego.
It's interesting to note: The study’s initial participants were 17,000 mostly white, middle and upper-middle class college-educated San Diegans with good jobs and great health care – they all belonged to the Kaiser Permanente health maintenance organization. These statistics would change when we add discrimination, marginalization, poverty, lack of access to resources and a quality education, etc.