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Effects Of Adverse Childhood Experiences According To Major Study


The effects of childhood trauma can be devastating and, in the absence of effective therapy, can last well into adulthood or even for an entire lifetime.

The most well-known study on the effects of childhood trauma is called The ACE Study /Adverse Childhood Experiences Study.

The main findings of this extremely important study were as follows :

Those who experience significant childhood trauma are at increased risk of:

  • depression
  • alcoholism/addiction to narcotics
  • attempted suicide
  • stress relating to inadequate finances
  • significantly impaired work performance
  • promiscuity/risky sex
  • nicotine addiction
  • adolescent/unplanned pregnancy
  • significantly impaired academic attainment
  • significantly impaired physical health including lung disease, heart disease and liver disease
  • And, if you explore this website, you will discover that the above list is far from exhaustive when enumerating the myriad effects of childhood trauma.

What Types Of Childhood Trauma Did The Study Focus Upon?

The study focused upon the following types of childhood trauma :

  • Abuse (emotional, sexual or physical)
  • Living in a household within which a family member who was an alcoholic or drug addict
  • Living in a household within which the mother was physically abused
  • Parental divorce/separation
  • Neglect (emotional or physical)
  • Living in a household in which a family member went to prison
  • Living in a household within which a family member suffered from mental illness

NB The study found that the more of these adverse childhood experiences the child suffered, and the more intense and long-lasting they were, the greater the child’s risk of developing the problems listed above.

This website takes the ACE study as its starting point and, if you choose to explore it, you can find a wealth of information about :

  • Why some are more resilient to the effects of childhood trauma than others
  • How childhood trauma can actually damage the brain’s physical development
  • Therapies and self-help techniques that can help us overcome the adverse effects of childhood trauma, including any damage our developing brains, have incurred whilst we were growing up
  • The relationship between childhood trauma and borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • The relationship between childhood trauma and complex posttraumatic stress disorder (cPTSD)
  • Posttraumatic growth: how, if we can overcome the negative effects of our childhood trauma, we may end up better people than we would have been had we never experienced our adverse childhood experiences in the first place
  • and much more (over 850 articles in all). In order to view the full range of topics examined on this website, SEE MAIN MENU AT TOP OF PAGE.


David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).