In the 1980s in California, Dr Vincent J Felitti made a curious observation. Tasked to investigate a puzzling mystery: patients who were successfully embarked on a weight loss program were dropping out once they were well under way towards reaching their goal. Every evening he would come home from his patient interviews bewildered that so many were disclosing having been victims of sexual abuse as children.

This began a landmark study in cooperation with the CDC and Kaiser Permanente that showed a surprising correlation between child abuse & neglect and household dysfunction experienced during childhood, and serious health – physical and mental – issues decades later and throughout life.

This NPR article from March 2015 offers the quiz and explains some of the study’s findings: Take The ACE Quiz — And Learn What It Does And Doesn’t Mean

Among the most staggering findings of the study are the following:

  1. ACEs are common:
    • Two thirds of the population studied had lived through Adverse Childhood Experiences
    • 40% had at least 2 ACEs
    • close to 10% had 6 or more
    • 20% of participants in the study had experienced childhood sexual abuse
  2. ACEs are highly correlated with health issues. According to Wikipedia: “Compared to an ACE score of zero, having
    • four adverse childhood experiences was associated with a seven-fold increase in alcoholism, a doubling of risk of being diagnosed with cancer, and a four-fold increase in emphysema;
    • an ACE score above six was associated with a 30-fold increase in attempted suicide”