Adverse Childhood Experiences and Their Impact in Adults


I invite you to explore the ACE Study, one of the largest research investigations about the connection between adverse childhood experiences such as neglect and later-life health and wellbeing. These "ACEs" are categorized into three categories of abuse, neglect, and family/household challenges. The results of this study indicate the more ACEs a child experiences, the higher risk in later life for the following: 

  • Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Depression
  • Fetal death
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Illicit drug use
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Poor work performance
  • Financial stress
  • Risk for intimate partner violence
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Smoking
  • Suicide attempts
  • Unintended pregnancies
  • Early initiation of smoking
  • Early initiation of sexual activity
  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • Risk for sexual violence
  • Poor academic achievement

While these outcomes are not surprising, I'd like to begin a discussion about ACEs and our students. As we progress through this conversation, I'd like to move into a discussion about trauma informed leadership. 

I look forward to this discussion. 

Kathy Tracey







J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, a NY Times Bestseller, is a personal and cultural autobiography of, among other things, ACES. In the contexts of the challenges facing the American working class in a declining manufacturing economy, as well as the effects of ACEs, I wonder if this might be a book that some adult learners might find particularly engaging. Have you read it? Have your students read it? What do you think?

David J. Rosen


I only read the first section of the book though I would definitely recommend it and I might go back and finish it later.  Interestingly, the part that caught my attention was how the authors values were shaped by his family culture and the positive pride he had in the "hillbilly" way of thinking and of handling problems.  My interest was piqued by an interview with the author that focused on what rural, red-state folks saw in Donald Trump.

Thanks David for the book and Susan for the podcast. Josh, I agree. Although I haven't yet read the book, I am equally intrigued by J.B Vance's story. This is the area of research for my dissertation.

The line from one of Vance's interviews  “I want parents to fight and scream less, and to recognize how destructive chaos is to their children’s future.” He also thinks that school leaders could help by being more cognizant of what’s going on in students’ home lives. The priorities that Vance advances are in sync with ACEs movement advocates working for faith-based trauma-informed approaches, ACEs-informed parenting skills development, and trauma-sensitive schools. Before we begin discussing what trauma informed leadership looks like, let's talk about our classrooms. Do you think we need to worry about a learner's prior life experience? Do we have time to worry about prior ACEs? Or, should we integrate teaching practices to mitigate the impact of ACEs in the classroom? 

I'm looking forward to your input and questions. 


The above link may be of interest to many of you.  My daughter works for Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, and they are looking to increase awareness of data ACES provides and to expand/adapt questions to be more accurate/inclusive for all populations.

She recommended this site to me when we were discussing Hillbilly Elegy and the ACES connection recently.

~ Holly