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.


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.