Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2021


Adverse childhood experiences are defined as potentially traumatic events that occur before the age of 17 and include experiences such as violence or abuse in the home, substance abuse or mental health problems of a direct caretaker, neglect, incarceration of a parent, divorce, and other events that can negatively affect a child's sense of safety and stability in their home. These adverse experiences are commonly referred to as ACEs, and research has shown a direct link between a child's ACEs score and chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance abuse problems in adulthood. Research has also shown that these experiences can also negatively impact a child's education and academic success. This literature review contains information on the impact adverse childhood experiences can have on a child's physical health and their social and academic success. This literature review and research of studies reveals that while adverse childhood experiences can have a negative impact on many areas of a child's life, there are protective factors that can help decrease the affects these events may have on a child's well-being. This literature review also outlines how schools, communities, and government officials can work together to help break the cycle of ACEs within families by providing the supports needed to give children the best chance of social and academic success.

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