Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are traumas that you experience as a child (under the age of 18). Adverse childhood experiences can have lasting impacts on your physical health, mental health, and overall well-being long into your adult life. ACEs are incredibly common, among all socioeconomic classes and races.

Those who endure ACEs can pass that trauma along to their offspring. The stress of an ACE can create epigenetic changes in your genes, which you can pass on to your children.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente showed survivors of childhood trauma and ACEs were more likely to have negative health outcomes later in life. These negative outcomes were both physical and mental, including heart disease and diabetes.

Adverse Childhood Experiences List

Some specific examples of adverse childhood experiences include:

  • A parent who abuses controlled substances like drugs or alcohol
  • A parent with depression or another mental health condition
  • A parent who is incarcerated
  • Domestic violence in the household
  • Emotional abuse
  • Emotional or physical neglect
  • Homelessness
  • Lack of financial opportunity
  • Losing a parent or caregiver
  • Parents who divorce
  • Physical abuse
  • Poor housing quality
  • Poverty
  • Racism and discrimination
  • Sexual abuse
  • Witnessing abuse of parent or sibling
  • Violence in the home or community