ACE Study (Kaiser Permanente, 1995)

  • The ACE Study takes a whole-life perspective, as indicated on the orange arrow leading from conception to death
  • By working within this framework, the ACE Study began to progressively uncover how adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are strongly related to development and prevalence of risk factors for disease, health, and social well-being throughout the lifespan

Adverse Childhood Experiences Are Common

Household dysfunction

  • Substance abuse 27%
  • Parental separation / divorce 23%
  • Mental illness 17%
  • Battered mother 13%
  • Criminal behavior 6%


  • Psychological 11%
  • Physical 28%
  • Sexual 21%


  • Emotional 15%
  • Physical 10%

Sixty-four percent of adults surveyed reported at least one ACE and the majority of respondents reported more than one.





Trauma Causes Disorganized Attachment (Janina Fisher)

  • When early attachments are safe, we are comfortable in relationships
  • When early attachments are dangerous, it creates an internal struggle between the yearning to
    attach and the drive to be safe. Do I run toward? or Do I run away?

Attachment Styles and Injuries (Bowlby & Ainsworth)