Almost Half of U.S. Kids Experience Childhood Trauma with Potential for Long-Term Health Repercussions

December 12, 2014|12:12 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Nearly half of U.S. kids have experienced at least one traumatic event that may impede their healthy development, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers report.

The new study published in December’s Health Affairs found that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are widespread and associated with a host of health and scholastic issues. Children with ACEs are more likely to have chronic health issues, such as autism and obesity. Children with two or more ACEs are also more likely to repeat a grade than those with none. However, the researchers found that promoting resiliency skills among parents and children can offset some of the negative effects of ACEs.

“Adverse childhood events don’t automatically have to have long-term traumatic impacts for children,” said study leader Christina Bethell in a press release. “To recognize trauma in children requires widespread awareness and skills-building among adults interacting with children at all levels. Efforts to support children, families and communities, so they can create a culture that supports safe, stable and nurturing relationships, hold great promise. Rapid innovation and studies documenting best methods and their impact are called for now. Supporting and teaching the adults in children’s lives to learn to heal from trauma and learn resilience themselves may be the most effective strategy to implement immediately.”

To learn more about adverse childhood experiences, visit ASTHO’s Preventing Violence Against Children and Youth web page.