A study in the early 1990s with Dr. Vincent Felitti at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego and Dr. Robert Anda of the CDC demonstrated a direct correlation between childhood trauma (Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs) and the adoption of risky behaviors by adolescents and poor health outcomes in adults. Specifically, adolescents with high incidences of childhood trauma (three or more) were much more likely to use alcohol and illicit drugs, experience adolescent pregnancies, and to attempt suicide.
Adults with high ACE scores were much more likely to have multiple adverse outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, suicide attempts, alcohol dependence, marital problems, and intravenous drug use.. Additional research has shown that adults with high ACE scores are much more likely to have cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and many more poor health outcomes, In addition, high ACE scores are correlated with lower educational attainment and lost work productivity.
The Wyandotte Health Foundation Board of Directors determined in 2016 that investing in the reduction of incidences and supporting interventions to assist families with high ACE scores over time is the greatest opportunity to improve health over generations.
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