Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and adolescent health


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) include physical, emotional or sexual abuse; violence against mother; and living with household members who were substance abusers, mentally ill or suicidal, or ever imprisoned. ACE are measured through self-report surveys where adolescent or adult respondents indicate whether they experienced one or more ACE, and may then also complete a questionnaire and/or medical exam to determine current health status and health risk behaviours (e.g. unsafe sex, tobacco use). A large number of studies report the impact of ACE on adolescents, and show that as the number of ACE increase, the risk for the following adolescent health and behaviour problems increases in a strong and graded fashion: