In a blog post on the website of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Kristin Schubert writes she remembers when her professional focus changed fundamentally to include the effects of violence on health after she read the Adverse Childhood Experience’s (ACE) study in 2007. ACE researchers found that the more trauma a child experiences, the more likely that person will develop chronic life-threatening diseases and suffer life-limiting circumstances such as being incarcerated, unemployed or uneducated as an adult.
Another recent survey on the subject also validates what most people already know to be true about childhood trauma, according to Schubert, in that Americans believe that our health is shaped by the experiences of our youth. The study, which was conducted by RWJF, NPR and Harvard University’s School of Public Health, and released in March, found the following:
- 9 out of 10 Americans (89%) believe that being abused or neglected as a child has an extremely or very important impact on health as an adult.
- 2 out of 3 Americans (66%) believe that living in poverty as a child has an extremely or very important impact on health as an adult.
- 4 out of 10 Americans (39%) report that they have had one or more childhood experiences they believe had a harmful effect on their health as an adult.
Schubert believes these results show that Americans are ready to shape a new policy to strengthen families and promote wellness. She discusses some of the promising leaders and partnerships taking place to begin building a movement to accomplish these goals.
Read the RWJF blog here.