Adverse Childhood Experiences: Connecting the Developmental Lens to the Health of Our Society

Robert Anda, MD

May 2011

Dr. Robert Anda from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, which demonstrates the relationship of childhood abuse, neglect, domestic violence, and related experiences to health throughout the lifespan among more than 17,000 members of the Kaiser Health Plan. Its findings are consistent with recent discoveries about the neurobiology of stress and the effect of stress on the developing central nervous system. Unlike other studies, the ACE study assessed a wide array of traumatic childhood experiences as well as many behavioural, health, and social problems from adolescence to late adulthood. An overview of key concepts and findings is presented.

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