Childhood experiences directly affect brain development and adult health outcomes. Negative experiences can lead to poor health outcomes, while positive childhood experiences help build resilience. To improve health outcomes, we must work to prevent adverse experiences and promote positive ones.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Research shows that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as abuse and neglect, can greatly increase a person’s risk for poor quality of life and serious illness.
Trauma-informed communities and health care systems can help reduce health complications for children who have experienced ACEs. Additionally, trauma informed care and strong social supports can help to mitigate the impacts of ACES on antepartum health outcomes for women.
- See the results of a massive study on ACEs by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente to learn more about risks and protective factors
- Watch pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explain how ACEs affect brain development
- Learn more about early childhood development and wellbeing
- Learn how ACEs affect brain architecture.
- View a library of resources from ACEs Connection, including trainings, videos, reports, and more
Health Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE)
A growing body of research on Health Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE) suggests that positive childhood experiences also influence adult health outcomes. A balancing of the understanding of traumatic childhood experiences such as abuse, neglect or the loss of a loved one with the resiliency building factors of positive experiences is necessary to fully understand how childhood history impacts outcomes for adults. Through the promotion of safe, stable, nurturing environments and strong relationships, we can help children experience social-emotional competence and gain the skills they need to help them manage stress and adversity into adulthood.
- Learn more about positive childhood experiences
- Learn more about how the study of child maltreatment is shifting to promote HOPE through safe, stable family environments
- Watch Dr. Robert Sege speak about balancing childhood adversity with resilience
- See guidance on promoting protective factors that help prevent and reduce the impact of ACEs
- See how the Montana Children’s Health Data Partnership Project is using HOPE measures in Montana