Your ACE’s Score

What is an ACE?

A.C.E stands for adverse childhood event. 10 types of childhood events, which result as trauma, are measured in the ACE Study. Five are personal — physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical and emotional neglect. Five are related to other family members: witnessing a parent’s addiction, witnessing a victim of domestic violence, a family member in jail, the loss of a parent through divorce, death, or abandonment. Being amongst someone with a mental illness.

There are, of course, many other types of childhood trauma. The original ACE Study included only the 10 above because they were mentioned the most, by a group of 300 Kaiser members.

Here are the Greenheart ACE related questions:

1. Did a parent or adult in your household at any time… Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or make you feel afraid that you might get hurt?


2.Did a parent or adult in the household often or very often… Push, grab, hit, or throw something at you?


3.Did you ever feel that… Nobody loved you, thought you were important or special? or that your family didn’t look out for you, feel close, or support each other?


4.Did you ever feel that … You didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you?


5.Were your parents ever separated or divorced? Did you lose someone close to you through death or abandonment?


6.Was a caregiver in your family, ever pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at them? Or did you witness them being threatened?


7.Did you live with anyone that had an unhealthy addiction that you feel impacted you?


8.Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did someone close to you attempt or commit suicide?


9.Did a household member go to prison?


10.Were you ever sexually approached by someone providing care for you?


There are additional traumatic incidents to consider, as you investigate, if your health has been impacted by adverse childhood experiences.

1. Was there any trauma experienced by your mother during her pregnancy with you?

2. What are your parents or key caregivers' ACE scores (based on the above questions?)

3. Were your parents or grandparents affected by war, political upheaval or other adverse events during their lifetimes?

4. Attachment trauma is when there is a lack of emotional contact or neglect. Do you feel there was any attachment trauma?

5. Were you a victim of racial or verbal abuse on a regular basis as a child?

There are other factors that can make it more likely that ACE’s will impact you

1. Being a highly sensitive person - Some people are naturally more emotionally sensitive and aware. Their nervous system is more delicate.

2. Having one ACE can help you deal better with another one - people with no ACEs at all, or very high ACE's may have the most adverse reactions.

3. No outside support - If, during childhood there was no outside support, or the ACEs were a family "secret," research shows the impact is worse for the child.

4. How your store your memories of an adverse event, your ability to reframe the meaning and your beliefs about emotional stress affects how an ACE impacts your health.