What Are ACEs?

Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, are traumatic experiences that can have a profound effect on a child’s developing brain and body. The effects of these events can last a lifetime. The original study done in 1998 screened 17,000 people for ten childhood adverse experiences. They found that individuals who experienced multiple ACEs were at higher risk for poor health outcomes and negative health behaviors.

Find resources on this page that discuss research on ACEs, and information on how ACEs impact Alaskans.


an unhealthy dose of stress: the impact of aces and toxic stress on childhood health and development

Take a more in-depth look at ACEs and their impact on children in this report from the Center for Youth Wellness.

Art by Erica Nickich

Art by Erica Nickich


ACEs exposure in childhood has a dose-response relationship with negative health outcomes over the lifespan. This tool can help us examine ACEs exposure, and can inform our potential for resilience and healing. Note: this survey asks about violence and victimization in childhood. Be sure to check out resources in the community and remember this survey is a tool to understand your past, and everyone experiences ACEs related outcomes in a variety of ways.

While the original survey looked at these 10 ACEs, remember that additional experiences can create toxic stress in childhood, such as experiencing persistent racism, living in a community with high rates of violence, or being from a group that has experiences systemic or intergenerational oppression and trauma.


How Childhood Trauma affects health across a lifetime

Dr. Burke Harris is an award-winning scientist, entrepreneur and advocate, dedicated to changing the way society responds to one of the most serious, expensive and widespread public health crises of our time: childhood trauma.

In this TED talk, Dr. Burke Harris explains how the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain.


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