The experiences we have as children—good and bad—can affect us for the rest of our lives.
CDC refers to childhood abuse, neglect, and other stressful events in a child’s life as adverse childhood experiences, also known as ACEs. And, unfortunately, research shows ACEs are common. Not only do they have an immediate, negative impact on our children, we can also connect ACEs to some of our worst health problems: substance abuse, depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and premature mortality, to name a few.
The landmark Kaiser ACE Study examined these experiences during childhood and reduced health and well-being later in life. Nearly two-thirds of adults surveyed reported at least one adverse childhood experience; the majority of those reported having more than one.
A more complete understanding of our childhood experiences—and how they continue to impact us as we grow—will help us better prevent and respond to these problems.
To learn more about the ACE Study and its findings, please visit CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention website.
This interactive infographic highlights ACEs, their impact, and what can be done to prevent them.