Health experts have developed survey questions to score a patient’s level of physical or mental trauma sustained during childhood. The ACE quiz (which stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences), has proven a vital resource for gauging underlying or potential health risks.
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Research has consistently found that multiple childhood traumas (four or more) are linked to everything from heart disease to depression, obesity, substance abuse and heavy drinking.
Physicians who use the ACE test say it can open a window for patient and doctor alike in the connection between past events and their health challenges. In some cases, physicians refer patients with multiple traumas in childhood to mental health professionals for treatment.
Of course, a high trauma score does not inevitably lead to poor health. But those who score high on this test might want to consult with a physician or mental health professional about appropriate actions to take.
Take the test yourself:
Q1: 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?
Q2: 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?
Q3: 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?
Q4: 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?
Q5: 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?
Q6: Were your parents ever separated or divorced?
Q7: 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?
Q8: Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs?
Q9: Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide?
Q10: Did a household member go to prison?