Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. These experiences range from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, to parental divorce or the incarceration of a parent or guardian. Child Trends analyzed data from the 2011/12 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) to assess the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences among children and youth. Studies of adults who experienced multiple adverse experiences in their youth have found increased risk for poor health outcomes such as obesity, alcoholism, and depression. Less is known about the relationship between adverse experiences and well-being in childhood or adolescence. The large sample of the NSCH allowed us to examine the association between high numbers of negative experiences and measures of child well-being.

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Kristin Anderson Moore
Vanessa Sacks
Tawana Bandy
David Murphey