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Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES)

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES) is the first large scale study to empirically demonstrate that  various types of family dysfunction in childhood significantly increase the risk of chronic disease,

social and emotional problems in adulthood.

The study concluded that:

Adverse childhood experiences

are the leading determinant of what happens

to the health and social well-being

of a nation's population.

This study, conducted by the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, and Kaiser Permanente's San Diego Health Clinic is based on a survey population of over 18,000 predominantly white, college-educated men and women living in San Diego, CA.


Most had an ACE score of at least one. One in five had an ACE score of 3 or more.

Study findings demonstrate that the 

likely percent of the following problems

in our population are attributable to

Adverse Childhood Experiences:


  • 65% of alcoholism

  • 50% of drug use

  • 78% of IV drug use

  • 48% of depression leading to suicide attempts

The 10 Adverse Childhood Experiences reviewed in this study, and the percent of participants that had experienced that particular ACE, are as follows:


  1. Major emotional abuse - 11% (you are the stupidest kid I have ever seen)

  2. Physical abuse - 28%

  3. Contact sexual abuse - 28% women, 16% men

  4. Emotional neglect - 16%

  5. Major physical neglect - 10%

  6. Member of household was an alcoholic - 27%

  7. Loosing a parent - 23%

  8. Someone was mentally ill - 17%

  9. Mother was treated violently - 13%

  10. Someone was imprisoned - 5%

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