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May 2013Vol. 14, No. 4Social Consequences of Adverse Experiences

Highlighting the findings from the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, a special issue of the Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community focuses on using ACE research to inform public policies on the lifelong effects of ACE. Seven articles by a variety of authors explore the convergence of public policy, neuroscience, and social sciences under ACE research.

ACE is a collaboration between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente's Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego, CA. It is the largest ongoing examination of the correlation between childhood maltreatment and adult health and well-being outcomes. Data are collected from more than 17,000 participants undergoing regular health screenings who provide information about childhood experiences of abuse and neglect, and findings show that certain experiences are risk factors or causes for various illnesses and poor health.

In the special issue's introduction, Heather Larkin, Joseph Shields, and Robert Anda suggest that the ACE study and its findings have created a shared language among the social services, mental health, substance abuse, neurobiology, and other fields within the research community. Furthermore, these authors contend that service systems addressing ACE consequences independently pose great challenges, and they call for a more integrated framework, funding, and interventions. The issue's articles highlight work being done to accomplish this goal. 

For example, one article highlights legislation in the State of Washington to reduce adverse childhood experiences. The article outlines the legislation, and the authors—Washington State legislators—pose questions to researchers to inform next steps.

"The Health and Social Consequences of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Across the Lifespan: An Introduction to Prevention and Intervention in the Community," by Heather Larkin, Joseph J. Shields, and Robert F. Anda, Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, 40(4), 2012, is available for purchase: