The Impact of Childhood Stress on Adult Health

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on our lifelong health. As such, early life experiences are an important public health issue. Much of the foundation research in this area has been referred to as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). According to the CDC, there is a significant link between adverse childhood experiences and chronic disease in adulthood, including heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases, as well as the development of mental health issues in adulthood.

An ACEs questionnaire was developed to assess cumulative childhood stress. The CDC’s ACEs study findings show the positive correlation between ACEs scores and negative health and well-being outcomes across the life course.  

Take the ACEs Quiz

Prior to your 18th birthday:

  1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? OR Act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?
  2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? OR Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?
  3. Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever… Touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way? OR Attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you?
  4. Did you often or very often feel that … No one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? OR Your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?
  5. Did you often or very often feel that … You didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you? OR Your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?
  6. Were your parents ever separated or divorced?
  7. Was your mother or stepmother-
    Often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her?  OR Sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? OR Ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?
  8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs?
  9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide?      
  10. Did a household member go to prison?

Now add up your “Yes” answers. This is your ACE Score: 

For more information or support regarding mental health, please call  Maia Betts at (518) 591-4899.