Your Number Story

The Science
of ACEs

Beyond the 10

Since the mid-1990s when the original ACEs study was conducted, the medical and scientific fields have learned a lot about the impact of other childhood adversities that weren’t identified in the original study. These include other childhood risk factors for toxic stress such as discrimination, poverty, and racism.

We’ve also learned that economically disadvantaged groups, communities of color, LGBTQ communities, immigrants and refugees, and children who were involved in the criminal, legal or child welfare systems are disproportionately impacted by ACEs and toxic stress. We also know that these populations have other risk factors for toxic stress, increased incidence of ACE-associated health conditions, and barriers and/or decreased access to buffering resources due to structural or systemic factors.

This list describes some of these common and impactful childhood adversities:

  • Discrimination, based on race, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation (such as LGBTQ+), religion, learning differences, or disabilities.
  • Poverty 
  • Racism (systemic and institutional)
  • Other violence, like bullying or experiencing or witnessing violence in your neighborhood, community or school
  • Intergenerational and cultural trauma, like the displacement and genocide of indigenous people, slavery, and the Holocaust
  • Separation from parent or caregiver due to immigration or foster care 
  • Adjustment or other major life changes, like migration, immigration, refugee and asylum experiences; moving to a new area where there are no social connections; the ending of emotionally important relationships 
  • Bereavement and survivorship, like losing a caregiver or sibling due to death, surviving an illness or injury and a natural disaster or major accident
  • Adult responsibilities as a child, like caring for a sick or disabled parent or sibling

Here are two ways to learn more: