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Complex Trauma – Long Term Health Consequences

Traumatic experiences in childhood have been linked to increased medical conditions throughout the individuals’ lives. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is a longitudinal study that explores the long-lasting impact of childhood trauma into adulthood.

The ACE Study includes over 17,000 participants ranging in age from 19 to 90. Researchers gathered medical histories over time while also collecting data on the subjects’ childhood exposure to abuse, violence, and impaired caregivers. Results indicated that nearly 64% of participants experienced at least one exposure, and of those, 69% reported two or more incidents of childhood trauma.

Results demonstrated the connection between childhood trauma exposure, high-risk behaviours (e.g., smoking, unprotected sex), chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer, and a 20-year difference in life expectancy.

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