Impact of Adverse Childhood Experience on Human Development

Assessment Task: Developmental Perspectives on Behaviour

Impact of Adverse Childhood Experience on Human Development

Required Article

The enduring effects of abuse and related Adverse Experiences in Childhood

The research question

The study seeks to understand the impacts that abuse and related adverse experiences have on children. Also, the article addresses the impact that maltreatment has on the emotional well –being and the health of the children. The study focuses on the disturbances likelihood in a given behavior or function such as sleep disturbances and anxiety. Also, the study examines the number of comorbidities

Theoretical perspectives

The study draws from epidemiology and neurobiology evidence that state that stress in the early life such as abuse can lead to a brain dysfunction that has adverse impacts on quality and health of an individual. Even more, studies have shown that stress in an early life can result in long-term changes in brain system and circuits, (Slopen et al. 2013).

Importantly, the study draws on various studies that have shown that childhood stressors like domestic violence and abuse can lead to suicide attempts, substance abuse and depressive disorders in a child, (Shonkoff, et al.2012) According to, to Smith 1997, development and stress have a vital interaction; glucocorticoid in infants is usually not developed and, therefore, cannot respond to stress. Plotsky and Meaney 1993, further affirms that stressors in early life lead to a long term glucocorticoid increase response to stress.

Related paper: Health

            Data collection methods

In collecting data, the researchers made use of questionnaires whereby the participants were required to fill their health histories and behaviors. The questionnaire was used to obtain ACE information which included domestic violence and abuse. In analyzing the data, researchers opted to use statistical analysis. Linear aggression was used in estimating the comorbid outcome number by ACE score.

For the effectiveness of the study, the researchers could have also used interviews in collecting data. The use of interviews would have given detailed information as well as allow the researchers to observe the participants reactions when giving out information. Interviews allow the researcher to get detailed information as opposed to the use of questionnaires.

The key impacts of adverse childhood experiences on neurobiological development

Adverse Childhood Experiences leads to reduced amygdala and hippocampus. Also, the ACE results in deficits in verbal declarative memory in women who were sexually assaulted during g childhood. Besides, an increase in ACE leads to an increase in the child impaired memory, (Garner 2012). The study findings reveal that hallucinations tend to increase as the ACE increases. Usually, the symptoms are related to hippocampal alterations and function in prefrontal cortical

How impaired neurobiological development from a range of adverse childhood experiences increases the risk of physical and psychological problems across the lifespan

The ACE can have adverse effects on the physical health of a child which include hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, and obesity .stress acting via the glucocorticoids impact on the receptor of glucocorticoid on adipocytes of intra-abdominal results to increase in intra-abdominal fat which has its own mortality risk. Early stressors lead to locus coeruleus increased activity which increases the non-epinephrine release in the brain, ( al. 2006).

Therefore, substances such as alcohol and heroin decrease the locus coeruleus firing leading to psychological and physical problems in a child. Further, early stressors result in changes that are long term in peptides that regulate social attachment and pair bond, (Balistreri, 2015). Hence, the adverse experiences at an early age disrupt the ability to form attachments that are long term in adulthood which leads to psychological problems. Additionally, victims of early abuse tend to have multiple psychiatric disorders (Larkin, Felitti & Anda 2014). These disorders such as depression and substance abuse have a common etiology varying degree which is genetically modulated, (Fox et al 2015). Also, ACE can lead to trauma due to the imposed stress derived from witnessing domestic violence or been abused.

Article 2

The impact of adverse childhood experiences on an urban pediatric population

The research question

The article seeks to investigate adverse childhood experiences impacts in youths living in a low-income community. Also, the study focuses on the prevalence of categories of ACE that were endorsed in physical and psychological outcomes.

Theoretical perspectives

The research draws from studies that reveal that young people have a high risk of been affected by ACE as opposed to adults due to the impacts that community violence has on their developing systems that lead to traumatic experience.

Even more, exposure to community violence leads to posttraumatic stress such as flashbacks and nightmares in a high number of youths. Such symptoms impact emotional development, academic performance and behavior among the young people, (Flonagan et al. 2015).

Moreover, the consequences of physiological stress do not only affect mental health but also correlate with medical conditions that are non-psychological,(Burke, 2011). According to, to Huntington (1993) learning difficulties are associated with the development of anxiety, depression and bullying.

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Data collection methods

As a method of collecting data, the researcher used a retrospective medical chart to review pediatric patients in Bayview Child Health Center. The documentation of the chart was done by one or more pediatricians to minimize errors. Also, the study used statistical analysis in analyzing data. As opposed to use of questionnaires for data collection used in Anda, use of retrospective charts can be more efficient and accurate compared to questionnaire; as the participants would be more willing to disclose their problems to the health workers as opposed to researchers. However, use of medical chart to collect data is prone to errors when reviewing the charts.


The study findings support the Anda et al findings that adverse childhood experience leads to negative physical and psychological outcomes among pediatric population. Further, the study confirms that ACE can lead to obesity, depression and anxiety which may affect the child health.


As opposed to Anda et al study this study findings indicate that the number of participants exposed to one or more ACEs was higher than the number in Anda et al study. Even more, the study findings reveal that there was an increase in learning problems among children with at least four ACEs compared to children who did not have addition, the research concludes that there was an increase in adverse childhood experiences in urban communities that had high case of violence.

Article 3

The Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences in the lives of Juvenile Offenders

Research question

The article research question is on the impacts of adverse childhood experiences in the juvenile offenders’ lives. The study examines the prevalence of ACEs in juvenile offenders found in Florida.

Theoretical perspectives

The research draws on the findings of Dube et al, 2001 which indicate that there’s a high prevalence of ACEs in particular populations. ACE has had negative consequences such as chronic diseases and chromosome damage (Danese 2014). Moreover, the study draws on studies that have shown that ACEs scores are linked to risky sexual behaviors. Importantly the study draws from (Felitti et al 1998) study that affirms that there is a high possibility of ACEs leading to adverse effects in adulthood for as child who has experienced four ACEs as compared to those who have no ACE exposure.

Data collection methods

The study used secondary data analysis to collect data; the researchers conducted a secondary analysis of PACT assessments undertaken in Florida. Therefore, the study did not involve any primary data. Compared to Anda et al., use of questionnaires in collecting data, the use of secondary data for the study is easier and faster. However, reliance on secondary data may lead to bias due to missing information as opposed to the use of questionnaires where the researcher can get detailed information.


The research affirms the Anda et al. study that ACE can lead to trauma among children who are abused. The research findings indicate that adverse childhood experience increases the chances of been involved in juvenile as well as high chances of re-offense, (Baglivio, 2014).  Contrast

In contrast with Anda et al. research, the study reveals that females are more exposed to  ACE as compared to males especially the Ace composite score and sexual abuse.

How Adverse Childhood Experience can increase mental health issues

The adverse childhood experiences can result to mental health problems in adulthood. The Anda et al. article shows that a child that is exposed to domestic violence may inhibit the mental development of a child which is likely to lead to mental health problems,(Anda et al. 2006).

On the other hand, Burke et al. article point out due to the early life exposure to abuse in a child, a child is likely to experience depression at an early stage of life which may lead to trauma; increasing the risk of mental health problem in later development stages,(Burke,2011).

Further, the Baglivio et al. article reveal that adverse childhood experiences lead to trauma in juvenile offenders, due to the trauma the child tends to develop mental health problems increasing the chances of repeating the offense,(Baglivio,2014).

To conclude, the three articles demonstrate that adverse childhood experience has negative impacts on child psychological and physical problems. Additionally, the articles show that an adverse childhood experience has the potential to increase mental health issues at a later development stage.


Anda, R. F., Felitti, V. J., Bremner, J. D., Walker, J. D., Whitfield, C. H., Perry, B. D., … & Giles, W. H. (2006). The enduring effects of abuse and related adverse experiences in childhood. European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience, 256(3), 174-186.

Baglivio, M. T., Epps, N., Swartz, K., Huq, M. S., Sheer, A., & Hardt, N. S. (2014). The prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (ACE) in the lives of juvenile offenders. Journal of Juvenile Justice, 3(2), 1.

Balistreri, K. S. (2015). Adverse Childhood Experiences, the Medical Home, and Child Well-Being. Maternal and child health journal, 19(11), 2492-2500.

Burke, N. J., Hellman, J. L., Scott, B. G., Weems, C. F., & Carrion, V. G. (2011). The impact of adverse childhood experiences on an urban pediatric population. Child abuse & neglect, 35(6), 408-413.

Danese, A., & Tan, M. (2014). Childhood maltreatment and obesity: systematic review and meta-analysis. Molecular psychiatry, 19(5), 544-554.

Flanagan, J. C., Baker, N. L., McRae-Clark, A. L., Brady, K. T., & Moran-Santa Maria, M. M. (2015). Effects of adverse childhood experiences on the association between intranasal oxytocin and social stress reactivity among individuals with cocaine dependence. Psychiatry research, 229(1), 94-100.

Fox, B. H., Perez, N., Cass, E., Baglivio, M. T., & Epps, N. (2015). Trauma changes everything: Examining the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and serious, violent and chronic juvenile offenders. Child abuse & neglect, 46, 163-173.

Garner, A. S., Shonkoff, J. P., Siegel, B. S., Dobbins, M. I., Earls, M. F., McGuinn, L., … & Wood, D. L. (2012). Early childhood adversity, toxic stress, and the role of the pediatrician: translating developmental science into lifelong health. Pediatrics, 129(1), e224-e231.

Larkin, H., Felitti, V. J., & Anda, R. F. (2014). Social work and adverse childhood experiences research: Implications for practice and health policy. Social work in public health, 29(1), 1-16.

Shonkoff, J. P., Garner, A. S., Siegel, B. S., Dobbins, M. I., Earls, M. F., McGuinn, L., … & Wood, D. L. (2012). The lifelong effects of early childhood adversity and toxic stress. Pediatrics, 129(1), e232-e246.

Slopen, N., Kubzansky, L. D., McLaughlin, K. A., & Koenen, K. C. (2013). Childhood adversity and inflammatory processes in youth: a prospective study. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38(2), 188-200.