Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) refer to traumatic or stressful events occurring during childhood that can have negative impacts on a person’s physical and mental health later in life. These experiences can include various forms of abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. The original ACEs study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente in the 1990s identified ten types of adverse childhood experiences:

  1. Physical Abuse: Physical abuse involves the intentional use of force that results in injury, pain, or impairment.
  2. Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse involves any sexual activity with a child, including molestation, rape, or exploitation.
  3. Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse refers to behaviors such as verbal assaults, threats, rejection, and intimidation that undermine a child’s sense of self-worth and emotional well-being.
  4. Physical Neglect: Physical neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to provide a child’s basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, or medical care.
  5. Emotional Neglect: Emotional neglect involves the failure to meet a child’s emotional needs, such as affection, attention, and nurturance.
  6. Household Substance Abuse: Exposure to household substance abuse refers to living with a caregiver who abuses alcohol or drugs, which can create an unstable and unsafe environment for a child.
  7. Household Mental Illness: Living with a caregiver who has untreated mental illness can expose a child to emotional instability, neglect, or abuse.
  8. Household Domestic Violence: Witnessing domestic violence between caregivers can cause trauma and emotional distress for a child, even if they are not directly abused.
  9. Parental Separation or Divorce: Separation or divorce can disrupt a child’s sense of security and stability, leading to emotional distress and behavioral problems.
  10. Incarceration of a Household Member: Having a household member incarcerated can result in loss of support, financial instability, and emotional trauma for a child.

The ACEs study found a strong correlation between exposure to ACEs and negative health outcomes later in life, including chronic physical conditions, mental health disorders, substance abuse, and interpersonal difficulties. Additionally, individuals with a higher number of ACEs are at increased risk for a range of adverse outcomes, highlighting the importance of addressing childhood trauma and providing early intervention and support for affected individuals.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

The CDC provides extensive resources and publications on ACEs, including data briefs, research articles, and reports summarizing the prevalence, consequences, and prevention strategies related to ACEs.

Tools & Resources

ACE Interface is a Limited Liability Corporation that provides products and services to people like you, who are committed to do everything necessary to accelerate the intergenerational changes that will improve health and quality of life. As originators of the science and community application of the ACE Study, Dr. Robert Anda and Laura Porter develop and disseminate educational products, provide assistance, consultation and analysis, design high-leverage strategies for improving health and well-being, and facilitate empowerment processes that invite everyone to contribute to ACE-informed innovations.

This tool educates prevention professionals about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), including what ACEs are, their prevalence, their impact on substance use and other behavioral health outcomes, and how to integrate addressing them into existing prevention.


In this podcast episode, Fabricia Prado joins host Heather Haslem to examine the profound impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their role as the root cause of both physical and mental illness. They discuss the importance of developing a mindful relationship with our bodies and the need for understanding how healing from trauma requires a holistic approach that involves mind, body, and spirit.

Posters & Infographics

The Center for Disease Control "We Can Prevent Childhood Adversity" infographic

We Can Prevent Childhood Adversity Infographic

View the CDC Infographic

Webinars & Online Learning

Current News & Research

The Opioid Epidemic’s Toll on Children

This article from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health discusses the opioid epidemic’s toll on children.

The American Psychologist: “Implications of Adverse Childhood Experiences Screening on Behavioral Health Services: A Scoping Review and Systems Modeling Analysis”

Significant efforts are being made to screen for and respond to ACEs within primary care settings to help mitigate the individual and public health impact of ACEs. A scoping review and simulation modeling demonstrated the potential impacts of ACEs screening on the supply and demand for behavioral health care services.

CASAT OnDemand: “Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Public Health Crisis That is Treatable and Preventable”

CASAT OnDemand: “The Ripple Effect: Applying the Social Ecological Model to Adverse Childhood Experiences”