Did you have a happy childhood? Most of us recall fond memories when we think of this time, loving parents, family vacations, and a lot of laughter. However, there are those who experienced a more somber reality. Unfortunately, for these individuals there are serious health, social, and economic risks in their adult life.
Dr .Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda conducted one of the largest research studies of its kind in the 90’s that was developed to address adverse childhood trauma and its subsequent detrimental effects on adult life. Over 17,000 participants were given questionnaires inquiring about childhood experience. There were seven categories designed to address abuse and dysfunction; recurrent physical abuse, recurrent emotional abuse, contact sexual abuse, incarceration of a family member, substance abuse by a family member, household where mother was violently treated, and a depressed, mentally ill, or suicidal family member. Participants were asked a series of yes or no questions. If the answer was yes you earned a point. The results were astounding. The higher an individual’s score the more likely they were to develop a physical or emotional disorder in adulthood. For example, if an individual scored a 4 or more in the categories there is a 4 to 12-fold increase for obesity, depression, skeletal fractures, substance abuse, cancer, and suicidal ideation. Another striking example shown was if an individual scored a four or higher they were seven times more likely to become an adult alcoholic. The findings have serious implications for a plethora of areas such as healthcare and childhood education. Psychological research has proven time and again that factors such as motivation and impulse control are equally important as the intelligence quotient.
If you wish to calculate your ACE score answer the questions below:
1 .Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often swear, insult, or humiliate you or act in a manner that made you feel afraid you may be physically hurt?
2.Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often push, grab, or throw something at you or ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?
3. Did an adult or person at least five years older than you ever touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way or attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you?
4. Did you often or very often feel that no one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special or feel that your family sis not look out for one another, feel close, or support one another?
5. Did you often or very often feel that you didn’t have enough to eat, had dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you or your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if needed?
6. Were your parents ever separated or divorced?
7. Was your mother or stepmother often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her or sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard or ever repeatedly hit at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?
8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic who used street drugs?
9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide?
10. Did a household member go to prison?
For each yes give yourself a 1 add that number and this is your score.
Childhood is like a mirror, which reflects in afterlife the images first presented to it. The first thing continues forever with the child. The first joy, the first sorrow, the first success, the first failure, the first achievement, the first misadventure, paint the foreground of his life.
It is never too late to have a happy childhood.