Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Reading List

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Adverse Childhood Experiences are traumatic circumstances or events that occur during childhood. Research that has examined ACEs has pointed to the link between these traumatic events in childhood and the increased risk of negative physical and mental health outcomes throughout the life course. Additionally, there has been research to suggest that children who have been exposed to trauma may be at greater risk of developing problems, such as alcohol and drug use, later on in life.

The list below includes resources and research that outlines the different ACEs and the impact they can have on healthy development. The list also includes resources to support the development of trauma-informed services. Additionally, ISSUP has a Network that focusses on childhood. Log in and join the network to follow the latest news, discussions and research.

  1. In this study, published in the journal of addictive behaviours, the researchers found a link between adverse childhood experiences and opioid use later on in life. According to the investigation, emotional abuse particularly was linked with an increased likelihood of engaging in risky behaviour during adolescence and of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during adulthood.
  2. The British Psychological Society has published a paper that defines the range of ACEs and outlines some of the negative consequences. Prevention is key, and the paper outlines some of the ways professionals can work with individuals and communities to reduce ACEs, as well as the potential impact they can have for generations down the line.
  3. This video, which was part of a webinar series by the Substance Use and Associated Behaviours (SUAB) Research Group, makes the case for trauma and ACE informed substance use services. The webinar examines the nature of ACEs, it provides an overview of how trauma can impact behaviour and emotion, and describes the link between trauma and substance use.
  4. The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction has put together a set of learning cards on concepts that are related to adverse childhood experiences and the impact on brain development. The tool examines issues such as brain functioning, toxic stress and resilience.
  5. The Centre for Alcohol and Other Drug Training and Workforce Development has created a toolkit for practitioners to enhance knowledge and skills in trauma-informed care. The toolkit includes videos, webinar recordings and eLearning modules that examine the impact of trauma on brain development and methods that practitioners can use to adopt a trauma-informed approach within their practice.
  6. Not only does awareness of the impact of ACEs help practitioners when working with people with substance-related issues, but it can reduce the stigma around substance use. Researchers found that public attitude was less stigmatising if they were made aware of the potential impact of trauma during childhood. This article highlights the potential way that ACE awareness can be useful within anti-stigma interventions.