Grief Recovery Insitute

Date of Review: 5/3/19 Article

Topic: Adverse-Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study (CDC)

Article Source: CDC ACE Study (

Article Link: Article Source: Citation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention.

Summary of research article:

The original study on effects of Adverse-Childhood Experiences (ACE) in adulthood was performed at KeiserPermanente in 1995-1997 with over 17,000 participants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues monitoring the medical status of the study participants to the present day. In 2008 the CDC adapted the questions from the ACE Study for incorporation into the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). As part of the study, both men and women were given two different questionnaires, A Health Appraisal History Questionnaire, and a Family Health History Questionnaire. All ACE questions referred to the person’s first 18 years of life and were divided into three categories: Abuse, Neglect, and Family/Household challenges. Subjects were then asked to record the number of ACE for their own personal histories as an indicator of childhood stress. Nearly two-thirds of the total recipients who completed the study indicated at least one ACE, and more than one in five reported three or more. More importantly, one or more accumulated ACEs are strongly directly correlated with negative adult well-being. Individuals with greater numbers of reported ACEs showed much greater risk factors towards (and eventual increased severity in the development of) chronic disease states including but not limited to: alcohol and/or other drug abuse, anxiety and depression, COPD, coronary artery disease, intimate partner violence, multiple sexual partners, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, and suicide. Since this correlation indicates a cumulative risk, the greater the number of ACEs experienced in childhood, the greater the number and/or intensity of the poor adult health outcomes.

Relevance to The Grief Recovery Method® or Related Products

Individuals faced with ACE are at a much greater increased risk of poor health outcomes as adults. Since the natural emotions associated with ACEs are grief responses, unfortunately for many of these children the grief processes are ignored, denied, or belittled. If this grief remains unresolved, it is clear from the results of the ACE study that these unresolved emotions eventually can be expressed as physical ailments or illnesses in adulthood. At the Grief Recovery Institute™, we promote recovery and healing from life stressors so that individuals faced with adverse life events of any kind (grievers) and AT ANY AGE can recapture the joy in their lives and live life to their fullest potential. This is particularly important to children experiencing ACE, as adverse experiences will likely continue to accumulate throughout life, increasing the risk for the development of associated illness and disease states. Additionally, if grief from ACE is dealt with effectively, the tools and skills learned can be used to effectively combat the cumulative effects of these experiences seen in the ACE study. We provide a safe atmosphere where grievers at any age can learn new skills to better manage and cope with grief. As we all know, grief is a normal and natural response to loss of any kind. Loss, itself a stressful life event, can easily lead to unhelpful coping mechanisms which can themselves begin to cause difficulties for the griever. Grief work is recovery, Grief work is healing. Grief work is prevention.

Basic Talking Points of the Article

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) are Common. Nearly 2/3 of participants reported at least one before the age of 18, and 1 in 5 reported 3 or more.

ACE increases the risks of poor health outcomes in adulthood.

ACE effects are dose-related, i.e., the larger number of ACE, the greater the risk of development of adverse adulthood chronic poor health conditions, and the severity of those conditions that do develop. adult health outcomes

This data provides a great background for why the Helping Children with Loss program is needed.

ACEs do not include losses such as moving, loss of a pet, or other “lesser” disappointments; the results/ Correlations would be higher if other losses were included.

Reviewer Name: Davies Cara Ph.D.

Last First Credentials Primary Phone: 4192024023 Email: [email protected]

Relationship: Certified Grief Recovery Specialist™, Member, GRI Research Committee

Field of Expertise: Neuroscience, Neuroanatomy, Grief Recovery, Education

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