“I think the most important thing that contributes to the information of the ACE Study is the powerful nature of when people tell you the truth about their lives and you listen, you understand their life course.”
Impact of ACEs
Adverse childhood experiences have been linked to some of today's most costly medical, psychiatric and social issues.
The likelihood of adopting risky behaviors or having poor health outcomes increases substantially as the number of ACEs increase. This chart shows the percent increase in risk for someone with 4 ACEs compared to those with 0 ACEs.
Iowa’s adult population has health problems strongly associated with ACEs. In 2010 an estimated:
These health outcomes are costly. Estimates attributed $738 million in Iowa health care costs to adult obesity. Chronic cardiovascular conditions cost Iowans an estimated $1.34 billion annually. The total cost of diabetes in Iowa exceeds $1.5 billion a year.
As the number of ACEs increases so does the likelihood a child will struggle in school. Based on ACE data in Washington, one-third of students in a typical classroom have four or more ACEs.
Children with 4 ACEs were more than 40 percent likely to have a learning delay, compared with less than 10 percent for children with one or two ACEs. Children with 6 or 7 ACEs were nearly 100 percent likely to have a learning delay.
Response to trauma can include anxiety, attachment issues and emotional swings that can hinder a child's ability to learn. Students with higher ACE scores are more likely to be designated to special education, fail a grade, score lower on a standardized test, have language difficulties, be suspended or expelled and have poorer health.
Research shows that as the number of ACEs increases, so does the likelihood that someone will face problems in the workplace. Fifteen percent of those with 4 or more ACEs missed more than two days of work each month versus 6 percent for those with 0 ACEs. Nearly 20 percent of those with 4 or more ACEs had serious job problems versus 5 percent of those with 0 ACEs.
The more adverse experiences in childhood, the more likely someone will face health, learning and workplace problems.
A study published in the Child Abuse and Neglect, The International Journal looked at confirmed child maltreatment cases—1,740 fatal and 579,000 non-fatal—for a 12-month period. Findings showed that each death due to child maltreatment had a lifetime cost of about $1.3 million, almost all of it in money that the child would have earned over a lifetime if he or she had lived. The lifetime cost for each victim of child maltreatment who lived was $210,012.