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ACEs: What Is It And Is The Trauma Long-Lasting?

If you're unfamiliar with the term ACE's (Adverse Childhood Experiences) chances are either yourself or someone you love are affected by it. In our latest podcast episode, we speak with Dr. Eboni E. Haynes about exposure and the long-term effects.

ACEs is a derivative of the Kaiser ACE Study originally conducted at Kaiser Permanente (Health Care Company based in Oakland, California) between the period of 1995 to 1997. Two waves of data were collected from over 17,000 Health Maintenance Organization members from Southern California with the objective of receiving completed physical exams and surveys in an effort to compare childhood experiences to current health statuses and behaviors. What researches found was that about 61% of adults surveyed across 25 states reported having at least one type of ACE and nearly 1 in 6 reported they had experienced four or more types of ACEs.

ACEs are defined by potentially traumatic events that occur during childhood typically before the age of 18-years-old. Some examples include:

  • Domestic Violence

  • Physical Abuse

  • Mental Abuse

  • Witnessing Suicide or Death

The child's environment plays an integral role in the long-term development as well. Some examples include:

  • Separation of the family: Due to Crime or Imprisonment

  • Single Parent Homes

  • Substance Abuse

  • Sexual Abuse

These issues are especially rampant in communities of color. According to the "At-Risk Minority Groups" do not experience the same exposure to ACEs as their white counterparts. In the United States, 61% of black children and 51% of Hispanic children have experienced at least one ACE, compared to 40% of white children. In every part of the country, the lowest rate of ACEs was among Asian children. In most areas, the population most at risk was black children.

Dr. Eboni E. Haynes currently serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services Policy and Management at the University of South Carolina. She has spent her life researching ACEs within minority groups and the outcome in adulthood. In our interview, Dr. Haynes acknowledged the disparity of ACEs with minority groups. A contributing factor as to why these issues are more traumatizing specifically with minorities derives from a lack of communication. As Dr. Haynes explained, "If you identify with minority communities, then there may be some stigma that's associated with mental health that's related to the discussion of things that happened within one's household." The stigma that Dr. Haynes is referencing is the history of black families not discussing issues that occur within their household. When referencing this group, she described that the young black youth "grow up not learning how to talk to people about the things they were dealing with, so they can get the kind of support that they need." As a result, many of these groups affected by this are walking around with the residual results because they may or may not have been addressed. Be sure to listen to our full interview with Dr. Haynes on Episode 14 of our podcast. If you or a loved one feel that you are affected by ACEs, please check out our resources below by clicking the link and seeking help.



By: Jay Denson

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