What Do Adults Think About Their Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and Does It Matter?

Marianna D. LaNoue, Amy T. Cunningham, Laura C. Kenny, Diane Abatemarco, Deborah Helitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the self-reported adulthood impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s), including both the amount (magnitude) and type (valence positive or negative) of impact reported, in order to characterize variability in impact ratings, as well as to quantify their predictive ability with respect to health outcomes. We descriptively characterized impact by type of event and analyzed associations between impact ratings and demographic characteristics of respondents to explore resilience. We also analyzed the relationships between impact ratings and health outcomes. We found that, while there was wide variability in impact ratings, emotional abuse was rated as the most impactful in magnitude, and sexual and emotional abuse were rated as the most negatively impactful in terms of valence. We further found that impact ratings are predictive of adult health outcomes above and beyond the experience of the events alone. We conclude that perceived impact is a potentially important variable to include when self-reported ACEs are assessed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1255-1261
Number of pages7
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Adult impact of
  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Perceived impact of
  • Resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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