Adverse Childhood Experiences Lead to Lifelong Health Consequences

At, Chrissy Sexton wrote this piece on new research that links early trauma with health issues later in life:

“Research from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) has shed new light on the profound long-term impacts of adverse childhood experiences. The study reveals that these early-life stressors are not just markers for future health issues in youth or midlife, but can reverberate deep into an individual’s old age, particularly leading to physical and cognitive impairments.

The findings, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, are significant as they mark the first time scientific research has explicitly linked traumatic experiences in early life to lifelong health consequences. . . . 

The experts discovered that older U.S. adults with a history of stressful or traumatic experiences in childhood were more likely to experience both physical and cognitive impairments later in life. These experiences could range from exposure to physical violence or abuse to severe illness, family financial stress, or separation from parents.

Elucidating the gravity of these findings, the research showed that individuals who suffered violence in their childhood were 40% more likely to struggle with mobility in their senior years and were 80% more likely to have difficulty with day-to-day activities. . . 

The UCSF research team used data from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, a national cohort of older U.S. adults, to study nearly 3,400 participants between the ages of 50 and 97 who lived in community settings. . . . 

The findings showed that 44% of the participants reported experiencing at least one adverse childhood experience between the ages of 6 and 16.”

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