Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are now recognized as a serious public health issue. Common ACEs include childhood abuse and neglect and household dysfunctions (e.g., family violence, household substance abuse, mental illness in household). The negative outcomes of ACEs have been well-documented in the literature. Not only are ACEs closely related to many mental health and behavioral problems (e.g., depression, psychosis, suicide, HIV high-risk behaviors, substance abuse, criminality), but also related to a lot of physical health problems, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer and stroke and so on. Experts even suggested that ACEs are the most preventable cause of severe mental disorders and HIV high-risk behaviors and that ACEs can lead to many leading causes of death (The Childhood Adversity Narratives, 2015). The economic and societal costs of ACEs are also very huge. Therefore, child protection has become a very important strategy to prevent many physical and mental health problems in our society from a public health perspective.
Harris, N. B. (2014). How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime. TED. TED.
In this video, pediatrician Dr. Nadine Burke Harris talks about the impacts of childhood trauma on our body and mind. As she quoted from the former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Adverse childhood experiences are the single greatest unaddressed public health threat facing our nation today." CITATION
Chapman, D. P. et al. (2004). Adverse childhood experiences and the risk of depressive disorders in adulthood. Journal of Affective Disorders, 82(2), 217–225.
This study examined the relationship between childhood adversities and depression. It was found that the number of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) has a graded relationship to depression. CITATION
De Venter, M. et al. (2013). The relationship between adverse childhood experiences and mental health in adulthood. A systematic literature review. Tijdschrift Voor Psychiatrie, 55(4), 259–268.
This paper systematically reviews the association between adverse childhood experiences and adult mental health. CITATION
Fung, H. W. et al. (2019). Adverse childhood experiences and dissociation among Hong Kong mental health service users. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 20, 457–470.
This paper reports the first data regarding the frequency of the 10 common types of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their relationships with dissociation in a clinical sample in Hong Kong. It was found that ACEs and dissociation are common among mental health service users in Hong Kong. CITATION
Fung, H. W. et al. (2020). Demographic and mental health correlates of childhood emotional abuse and neglect in a Hong Kong sample. Child Abuse & Neglect, 99.
This study revealed that childhood emotional maltreatment was associated with poor socioeconomic status and mental health problems in a sample of Hong Kong adults. CITATION
Read, J. et al. (2005). Childhood trauma, psychosis and schizophrenia: A literature review with theoretical and clinical implications. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 112(5), 330–350.
This reivew paper addresses the relationship betwen childhood trauma and psychosis and discusses the implications for research and clinical practice. CITATION
Reavis, J. A. et al. (2013). Adverse childhood experiences and adult criminality: How long must we live before we possess our own lives? The Permanente Journal, 17(2), 44.
This paper highlights the link between childhood adversities and adult criminality. The authors suggested that interventions for criminal recidivism must focus on the effects of childhood experiences. CITATION
Harris, N. B. (2018). The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
This book written by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris introduces how childhood adversities could affect one's body, brain, behaviors and interpersonal relationships. It also offers a set of scientifically based tools which could help survivors. CITATION
The Childhood Adversity Narratives, . (2015). Opportunities to change the outcomes of traumatized children.
In this document, a group of experts explains why it is important to protect children. The purpose of this is to inform people and policymakers about the costs and consequences of adverse childhood experiences. It was said that there are proven interventions and opportunities to change the tragic and costly outcomes. CITATION
van der Kolk, B. A. (2014). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind and body in the healing of trauma. New York, NY: Viking.
This New York Times bestseller is written by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, who is a renowned expert on trauma. This book introduces the neuroscience of trauma and discusses recent scientific advances in the field. It explains how psychological trauma affects our brain and body. Innovative approaches to the treatment of trauma (e.g., EMDR, sports, drama, yoga, neurofeedback) were also highlighted. CITATION