What Do I Do with my ACE Score?

The ACE score is the number of ten possible adverse experiences one may have had by the age of 18. Science now tells us that what happens in childhood is strongly related to our physical, mental, social and spiritual states as adults.

While the number of your ACEs won’t change, the impact they may have on your life can change. You see, an ACE score is only part of the picture. Resiliency (the ability to bounce back) is also very important when looking at adversity. For instance, if you had a lot of ACEs growing up, having just one positive relationship could provide you with the resiliency to lessen their impact.

If you answered “yes” to any of the ACE questions, did you also have experiences that made you resilient? How do you think these experiences (both positive and negative) affect your life now?

If you can trace trauma as a source to your current life challenges, please know that healing is possible, regardless of how long ago the trauma happened. You can also build resiliency by developing trusting relationships, having a positive attitude, and being aware of your feelings/instincts to better take care of yourself.

Make time to reflect about your past and seek healing as needed… your health depends on it!

“Build Resilience/Adverse Childhood Experiences, Buncombe County ACEs Connection Group http://buncombeaces.org/build-resilience/ Trama informed without empathy is empty.

What is Your ACE Score?

Curious what your ACE score is? Please CLICK HERE which will allow you to find your own ACE score. It’ll only take a few minutes to answer the 10 questions in a confidential manner, and when you are finished your score will be shown.

You do not need to share your ACE score with anyone else. However, if any of the ACE questions bring up uncomfortable feelings for you, please contact ONE Health Ohio to speak to a Beahvioral Health Counselor.

(Coming Next: What do I do with my ACE Score?)

Source: Starecheski, L. (2015). Take the ACE quiz-and learn what it does and doesn’t mean. Npr.org, March 2, 2015.

What are other examples of health problems?


ACE scores show a direct link between childhood trauma and the adult onset of chronic disease.

The “tipping point” is an ACE score of 4 (or more), at which point your risks jump to higher levels, such as:

  • 2x as likely to be a smoker
  • 3.9x as likely for Chronic Lung Diseases (bronchitis, emphysema, etc.)
  • 4x as likely to be depressed
  • 7x as likely to be an alcoholic
  • 10x as likely to abuse drugs
  • 12x as likely to commit suicide

Having an ACE score of 6 or more can result in one’s lifespan being shortened by 20 years

Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine & Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

What impact do ACEs have?

ACEs Have Lasting Impacts on Adult Health and Well-Being

ACEs have a strong correlation to adult health status 50 years later, meaning the higher the ACE score, the greater the risk for health problems, chronic disease, mental illness and violence (7 of the 10 leading causes of death).

(Coming Next: What are other examples of health problems?)

Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine & Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

How common are ACEs?

ACEs are Common 

“It’s not just ‘them’…. It’s us.”

(quote by Dr. Anda, after analyzing the original ACEs data)

At least 64% of adults have at least one.

And, ACEs don’t occur alone, for if you are in that 64%, there’s an 87% chance you’ll have 2 or more ACEs, for they tend to occur in clusters.

Study participants were average, middle-class Americans (avg. age=57 yrs. old)

  • 80% white (incl Latino), 10% black, 10% Asian
  • 74% college-educated

(Coming Next: What impact do ACEs have?)

Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine & Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Which childhood experiences were identified as “adverse”?

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

The Landmark ACE Study Included 10 Adverse Childhood Experiences:

  • 3 in regards to abuse (physical, emotional and sexual)
  • 2 dealing with neglect (physical and emotional) and
  • 5 referring to household dysfunction (household member with mental illness, a mom treated violently, not having 2 parents in the home, an incarcerated relative, and/or a family member who abuses substances).

An ACE score is the total number of ACEs reported. Although these 10 were measured in the original study, there are other types of childhood trauma, such as bullying, poverty, and racism that may also be traumatic

(Coming Next: The Results of the Original ACE Study)

Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine & Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

What are ACEs?

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic experiences that occur to individuals prior to the age of 18. Without resiliency protective factors, these experiences may negatively change a person’s brain development, as well as influence resulting physical, mental and/or social behaviors and interactions. In short, ACEs have lasting impacts on adult health and well-being.

As the landmark ACE study revealed, the more ACEs one has, the greater the risk for developing adult-onset illnesses and health risk behaviors later in life. (Felitti et. al (1998); click here to read original study.)

Knowing this, when we look at a person with the thought, “What’s wrong with him (her)?”, we need to think, “What happened to him (her)?”, for often the person’s past trauma is driving the behavior and actions we see.

(Coming Next: Which childhood experiences were identified as “Adverse”?)

Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine & Robert Wood Johnson Foundation