Arizona Children Lead the Nation in “Adverse Childhood Experiences”

| March 17, 2014

The Arizona Republic reports that a new study recently released indicates that Arizona children lead the nation in “adverse childhood experiences.”  These “adverse childhood experiences” or ACEs include:

  • Living with someone who is mentally ill or suicidal.
  •  Experiencing divorce or parental separation.
  •  Living with someone who has an alcohol or drug problem.
  •  Being a victim or witness of neighborhood violence.
  •  Experiencing socioeconomic hardship.
  •  Witnessing domestic violence.
  •  Having a parent in jail.
  •  Being treated or judged unfairly due to race/ethnicity.
  •  Experiencing the death of parent.

The Republic interviewed Marcia Staunton from the Phoenix Children’s Hospital who helped analyze the data. “This study is big news and big public-health news,” said Staunton. “The higher the child’s ACEs score, the greater the risk for all of the negative outcomes (like) substance abuse or behavioral-health issues.”

According to the report, a majority (57 percent) of Arizona children have experienced one adverse event, compared with 48 percent nationally.  The Republic reports that Staunton explained that “while other studies have looked at certain issues in isolation — the effects of of domestic violence or sexual abuse in the home, for example — this is the first to put those issues together and measure their cumulative impact on children. It is also the first time Arizona’s data have been singled out.”

“We know from this study it’s a piling on of these different categories of abuse and dysfunction that really result in the most devastating consequences to people’s health,” Stanton said. “If you look at any of the ACEs data, you’ll see how closely related the common experiences are to all these really huge public- health problems. … This issue should be of concern to everyone, whether you’re an educator, whether you’re in health care or whether you’re a parent.”

The Republic article also quoted Brad Snyder, the senior policy adviser at the non-profit Stop Bullying AZ initiative, “It was only for the last year that we’ve been able to see Arizona’s data separated out from the rest of the nation,” Snyder said. “All roads seem to go back to these early childhood experiences.”

Click here for a full copy of the report, “Overcoming Adverse Childhood Experiences: Creating Hope for a Healthier Arizona”

For the full Arizona Republic article, click HERE

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Category: Health

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