Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Childhood Trauma Worsens Health

The 61 percent majority of American adults report having endured at least one adverse childhood experience, according to the CDC. This finding is based on a unique set of questions about adverse childhood experiences added to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys in 25 states in 2015–2017. Eight types of adverse experiences were tallied by the survey—three types of abuse (physical, emotional, and/or sexual), and five problems with household members (substance abuse, incarceration, mental illness, parental divorce, or intimate partner violence).

Percent of adults reporting at least one adverse childhood experience, by age
Total, 18-plus: 61.0%
Aged 18 to 24: 70.5%
Aged 25 to 34: 69.5%
Aged 35 to 44: 65.0%
Aged 45 to 54: 62.5%
Aged 55 to 64: 58.9%
Aged 65-plus: 47.9%

Younger people are much more likely than older adults to report at least one adverse childhood experience. In part, this is because the experience of parental divorce is much greater for younger than older adults. Another reason for the difference by age is the greater willingness of younger adults to call out abuse and admit to family problems.

Thirty-nine percent of adults reported no adverse childhood experiences, 23 percent reported one, 22 percent reported two or three, and 16 percent reported four or more. Those who report four or more adverse childhood experiences also report greater health and socioeconomic problems than those who faced less adversity, the CDC found.  "Adverse childhood experiences are associated with leading causes of morbidity and mortality and with poor socioeconomic outcomes in adulthood," concludes the report.

Source: CDC, Vital Signs: Estimates Proportion of Adult Health Problems Attributable to Adverse Childhood Experiences and Implications for Prevention—25 States, 2015–2017

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