KP/CDC's A.C.E. Quiz (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

I got 9. No wonder I was such a mess. Never had a relationship. Could not hold a job. Lived in constant fear. Could not socialize. Regularly suicidal. Had no hopes whatsoever. Self-harm. Addiction. Complete isolation. No friends. Damn, I can't believe that I even lived. Thank heaven most of this are no longer an issue for me.
 
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these were the top ten most commonly reported issues. Not an exhaustive list at all.
 
I score three or four on this scale but this exercise doesn't account for complex trauma in which the perpetrator was the person one would go to for comfort. It also misses out on things like multiple perpetrators or severity of the trauma as Tom notes. I imagine for folks here the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. How fucked up is/was your life? The correlation between adverse childhood experiences and messed up lives is being given attention which is fine. Trying to address that in the school system, court system, family welfare system is all great, but alas there is so much stress and so much trauma it is difficult to imagine dramatic change can occur. We're left with what happens on this website... coping as best we can with the residue of trauma, AND finding support from our peers who know the territory as we do. Ending self-abuse and learning to find life affirming ways of caring for ourselves will help in building resilience. It is called earned secure attachment, the kind of attachment we likely didn't receive in our families. We earn it together, giving each other support for healing. But at least having this information at hand can take away the belief most of us have carried for a lifetime that WE'RE the problem. We are not. We deserve to have a life not ruled by trauma from the past. We have work to do... together.
 
WOW, Kal,

I'm really late in seeing this. Thanks so much for posting this. I heard about it but I never saw anything such as the questionnaire. The graphs were both very revealing and chilling. While I realize that all the things that the graphs show are true and I've heard many times before but seeing them laid out in graphs is chilling. The only issue I had with the test was that it describes an openly dysfunctional family setting. But I want to describe the opposite, the illusion of the perfect family setting that behind that illusion is also a dysfunctional setting that is just as dangerous to children.

The questions themselves are triggering in many ways. But I came to one question that asked if your parents were divorced or separated. So many of my friends here have had multiple changes in one or both of their parents and you hear horrendous stories that went on in those homes or rather houses since they weren't really homes. The neighborhood heard all about those families. They were known as drunks, couldn't hold jobs, fathers beating mothers, and visa versa. Drugs were common. Divorce was common, children didn't really know who their parents were in a crowd. In the '50s people felt sorry for the children in those houses. Everyone thought that those children would turn out to be just like their parents. Nobody helped. Nobody complained. Nobody listened. Nobody did anything.

The first 6 months of my life started out in an orphanage. I was taken in by what was the perfect parents wanting a perfect family. What puzzled me was that they were "happily" married for 80 years before they died. They were the perfect family in the '50s. The father went to war in the pacific in WWII, the wife worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. After the war they had a house in suburbia, a late model car, the man of the house was a businessman, the wife was a homemaker, they had a dog, and to complete the mirage they bought me. That completed the image of the model middle-class family in America. But in reality, it was all an illusion.

I scored a 6, probably 7, with one question I had trouble answering. Why? Because outside the house I had new clothes. Maybe they were 5 sizes too big but they were new. But in the house I had none. So I didn't know how to score that because only I made the clothes dirty, only I made them smell. So I didn't deserve any.

Question #8 asked if I lived with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs. As far as drugs are concerned the mother of the house only used prescription meds for all her ailments and maladies in order to get high so they weren't street drugs. Remember the Stones song "Mother's Little Helper". The other part of the question asked about being problem drinkers or drunks and I had to think about that for a moment. They were not really drunks but "social drinkers" that went too far. They would have friends over to play cards. Pinnacle for the men and Canasta for the women (I think). They would social drink the night away. The empty bottles cluttered the "coffee table", the men's cigars and ashes filled their ashtrays and the women's cigarettes filled their ashtrays. As everyone laughed at dirty jokes being told, one of the friends would go over to the naked 4-year-old child in that house, in his room, on his bed, and rape him. He raped him at those get-togethers until the family moved when the child was 9. So they are not drunks but they were all quite sociable.

After the parents moved up the social ladder to now upper-middle-class they moved to a new bigger home in suburbia. The 9-year-old child started in sports for his 9th birthday. By 10 he was being rented out by his coach. By 12-1/2, he was living in the city with three other kids in an apartment. The parents thought very highly of the coach he was the perfect babysitter. The coach was taking very good care of their child. The illusion of the perfect upper-middle-class family continued but without the child. That life didn't end until the child was 24 when he ran away from life in the game. But the repercussions of that life never ended not even till today.

How many families look like this to the outside world. It's the perfect family moving up in a perfect world both socially and financially. How many kids exist in this type of illusion. Where the dog eats better than the child. Teachers don't see anything wrong except the child can't read (he's dyslexic), has ants in his pants, is disruptive in school (he has ADHD). So the child is marked troubled or marked as a bad child and is properly punished in school and at home. The child is bad but the parents are perfect. I wonder how many survivors here on MS lived in such an illusion? I wonder how many children today live in such an illusion?
 
yes, it is just an estimate but you can see that even having a FEW of these items can have detrimental effects!! This is just research and is a way to show statistically how these ACEs can effect the person into adulthood. you can easily "tweak" your own numbers to get them higher since this study was VERY specific. but even a 3 or a 4 can have severe long-term impact, which was the point of the study.
 
most of the graphics cut-off at "4+" or "5+" and 1 shows "6+" -- even 2s and 3s show statistically significant increases in all of these areas.
 
finally a test that is good to score low on. But as others have said, the questions were not necessarily clear enough or covered all of my situations.
 
not made to be a catch-all for all situations, but it is there to PROVE that CHILDHOOD TRAUMA = long-term broad-spectrum negative health effects. you can easily "fudge it" if one of the situations kinda is similar to your own. but if you get at least a 3 or a 4 - those long-term effects would still have an impact.
 
3 is. but feel free to tweak it up. I could easily re count to an 11 or 12, tbh!
 
Prior to your 18th birthday....:
  1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or Act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  3. Did an adult or person at least 5 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?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  4. Did you often or very often feel that … No one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? or Your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  5. Did you often or very often feel that … You didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear 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 you needed it?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  6. Were your parents ever separated or divorced?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  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 over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide? No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  10. Did a household member go to prison?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __

The problem I have with this survey is that all the questions except for number 3 concern events or circumstances or relationships within the home. While i acknowledge that the home is probably the single most important influence upon a child, it is by no means the only one. I had many traumatic or "adverse" experiences that were not inside the confines of the home. I scored much lower - only a 3, or a 4 if I stretch it - than I would expect if I tallied up all of my traumas.

Lee
 
The problem I have with this survey is that all the questions except for number 3 concern events or circumstances or relationships within the home. While i acknowledge that the home is probably the single most important influence upon a child, it is by no means the only one. I had many traumatic or "adverse" experiences that were not inside the confines of the home. I scored much lower - only a 3, or a 4 if I stretch it - than I would expect if I tallied up all of my traumas.

Lee
the research was to show something statistically quantifiable to prove causality between trauma and on-going health issues. it was not meant to screen ALL possible trauma situations.
 
Thanks Kal for posting all this information. I was with Kaiser when I lived in the states and they did all kinds of test not sure if the ace score. I did one here 4 maybe 5 years ago and scored 6.5 as I answered yes and no and question #4 So the T scored it like that. All this info you have posted is helpful to understand it more.
 
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