Childhood wounds can last a lifetime
Research shows that childhood adversity is more widespread and harmful than previously thought. The ACEs Study found that Adverse Childhood Experiences such as child abuse or neglect, incarceration of a family member, and family violence are associated with a range of psychological, social, and health problems in adulthood. These include alcohol and drug abuse, mental illness, and reduced economic well-being. In Wisconsin, 57% of adults report growing up experiencing at least one ACE.
A major finding is the connection between childhood adversity and the leading causes of adult death, including stroke, heart disease, cancer, and lung disease. Advances in brain science demonstrate that extreme or prolonged stress from events like these can impact brain development, changing how people learn, cope, and adapt throughout life. The more adversity experienced in childhood, the greater the chances of psychological problems, illness, and a shorter lifespan.
The lifelong impacts of ACEs can be devastating to individuals and communities. The consequences of ACEs contribute to crime and drug abuse, undermine workforce quality, and put a heavy financial burden on healthcare, child welfare, education, and criminal justice systems. As a result, reducing ACEs and their
consequences is a priority for UW-Extension.
Learn more about the impact of ACEs and how UW-Extension Educators are taking action in this August 2018 Impact Report.