Updated Estimates of Frequency of Adverse Childhood Experiences

Bottom Line: A new survey study suggests childhood adversity is common across sociodemographic groups but that some people are at higher risk of having experienced childhood adversity. The study updates the estimated frequency of adverse childhood experiences in the U.S. adult population using a representative sample of people from 23 states. Findings suggest people who identified as black, Hispanic or multiracial, had less than a high school education, less than a $15,000 annual income, were unemployed or unable to work, and identified as gay/lesbian or bisexual reported higher exposure to adverse childhood experiences than other groups. The most common adverse childhood experiences were emotional abuse, parental separation or divorce, and household substance abuse. Prevention of adverse childhood experiences can improve health and life outcomes.

Authors: Melissa T. Merrick, Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, and coauthors


To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.