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  • Cited by 155
  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: May 2011

Chapter 8 - Therelationship of adverse childhood experiences to adult medical disease, psychiatric disorders and sexual behavior: implications for healthcare

from Section 1 - Early life trauma: impact on health and disease


This chapter examines the relationship between traumatic stress in childhood and the leading causes of morbidity, mortality and disability in the USA: cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, chronic liver disease, depression and other forms of mental illness, obesity, smoking and alcohol and drug abuse. The essence of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study has been to match retrospectively, approximately a half century after the fact, an individual's current state of health and well-being against adverse events in childhood. The chapter illustrates with a sampling from the findings in the ACE Study, the long-lasting, strongly proportionate and often profound relationship between adverse childhood experiences and important categories of emotional state, health risks, disease burden, sexual behavior, disability, and healthcare costs. Biomedical disease in adults had a significant relationship to adverse life experiences in childhood in the ACE Study.