Viewing a single comment thread. View all comments

theprozacfairy t1_ja20qlv wrote

ACE really only paints a small picture of actual childhood trauma. I had a sibling who had severe medical problems, frequent hospitalizations, and died when I was a teenager, which is not registered at all on the test. I have a friend who was repeatedly molested by a sibling two years older than her - also zero points. Another friend nearly died of cancer as a kid, but that's not on there, either. IDK why they made it so narrow. I mean, I know they can't put every trauma on there. But it feels like a lot is left off.


SilverMedal4Life t1_ja26yyu wrote

I imagine it's because the research isn't there for it. It makes intuitive sense that losing siblings and seeing the trauma of those close to you would cause long-lasting traumatic effects, but there's a standard of scientific rigor that's gotta be kept for this type of psychological research - family court cases might come down to ACE scores, and so the research has got to be robust.


bisforbenis t1_ja2cjzt wrote

I think ACE stuff really is chosen because it’s stuff backed by published research and encompasses more common occurrences

I think it holds value in that it paints a clear, simple picture that childhood trauma directly links to a lot of measurable health or social problems that maybe otherwise people would be unlikely to relate to childhood trauma

I agree it would be nice to include more things in it, and perhaps that will happen eventually. I feel it’s especially odd how it specifies someone at least 5 years older for sexual abuse, I’m sure there’s a reason for that that I’m missing, but it’s an odd limitation.

As for omitting health problems, I’d suspect it’s due to that being a different type of trauma than some other things, as it’s not really relational trauma while all the other stuff is, which while trauma in itself, maybe makes sense to consider separately and just study that one on its own. Loss of a family member perhaps is the same way, worthy of looking into how it impacts people of course, but perhaps not something you want to lump in with other relational trauma. I’d argue that a lot of ACE stuff focuses on some kind of betrayal of trust, where you counted on someone close to you for love and stability and they betrayed it, likely leading to a lot of problems trusting others or letting others get close in a way these things don’t. It’s not that these things are any less traumatic, but they aren’t things that drive home a “I can’t trust other people not to harm me” message like all the ACE stuff does


Elivandersys t1_ja2wfem wrote

Relational trauma absolutely occurs when there are major familial health issues. Kids get left behind emotionally. I didn't have help processing my fear, guilt, and anger over my brother's health issues. And I didn't have anyone spending the 1-1 time with me on the good stuff, either. My parents did their best, but life was very different for all of us after my brother was born.


theprozacfairy t1_ja44f30 wrote

Having a sibling with severe medical problems definitely causes relational trauma. Less time & attention to go around. My other sister and I fought like crazy, but never with my little sister, so we ended up taking things out on each other when we were mad at her or our parents, etc. I lived in a different world from all the other kids at school because I was worried about real, grown-up problems like insurance not paying for necessary medications or equipment. No one else understood me. It definitely affects trust and the ability to get close with others.


Elivandersys t1_ja2w4u8 wrote

Yeah, I've thought about that, too. My brother has spina bifida. I went from being the baby to basically being shuttled aside because his health issues were so profound. My husband and his mother and brother were emotionally abused throughout his childhood. His brother ran away at 16 and became a drug addict. None of these things are represented on the ACE test.


theprozacfairy t1_ja4gq6i wrote

The emotional abuse would register on the ACE test, if the dad yelled, swore at, or insulted them frequently, or ever threatened physical harm. Nothing else, though.


Elivandersys t1_ja4rnom wrote

Except his version was to pretend they didn't exist. My husband once went two months without his dad acknowledging his existence because as a 9 year old, he ran with his dad's glasses in his hand and tripped, after being told to walk. Glasses weren't damaged at all, btw.


Daddyssillypuppy t1_ja2iq78 wrote

The 9 ACEs included are just the most common occurring adverse childhood experiences that they studied. It's very common to witness your mum being abused versus having a sibling die after prolonged medical care.

The ACE list is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all the bad things that happen in childhood that cause issues later in life. Just the 9 most common ones amongst the study participants.


theprozacfairy t1_ja47c5c wrote

Do you have a source on that? It’s not even mentioned in my public health textbooks. Just that these are childhood traumas that still affect you later in life. You’d think there wouldn’t be that 5 year age restriction on sexual abuse, in that case, in order to cast a wider net.

But given that ACE is just the most common, I would still rather obesity and food addiction are studied beyond just ACE scores. There could be a lot of specific factors to obesity outside their scope.


Daddyssillypuppy t1_ja69is9 wrote

The source was the original scientific journal article mentioning ACE scores.