Youth Mental Health Crisis Driven by Adverse Childhood Experiences

New research finds adverse childhood experiences are widespread and linked to poor sleep, lower academic achievement, and emotional and behavioral problems.


A new article published in European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry finds a link between adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and reduced sleep quality and academic achievement in children and adolescents.

The research, headed by Guangbo Qu of the Anhui Medical University, also finds a link between ACEs and emotional and behavioral problems in children and adolescents. Higher levels of exposure were associated with greater risk for sleep issues, emotional and behavioral problems, and poor academic achievement.

The authors write:

“This study demonstrated that ACE exposure was positively associated with poor sleep quality, emotional and behavioral problems, and lower academic achievement of adolescents, and there were significant positive dose-response relationships, which provides additional evidence of the effect of ACEs on the health of children and adolescents.”

While the study’s design does not establish a causal relationship, the strong associations found add to a growing body of research suggesting that ACEs can have profound and lasting effects on an individual’s psychological and emotional well-being. This research underscores the importance of addressing ACEs in efforts to mitigate the youth mental health crisis.

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