Study Shows Adverse Experiences Make a Child Less Likely to Graduate from High School

Elk Grove Village, IL—(ENEWSPF)—March 10, 2016. A new study in the April 2016 Pediatrics suggests people who experience four or more traumatic events known as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are significantly less likely to graduate from high school, which is a leading indicator of lifelong health.

The study, “Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adult Well-Being in a Low-Income, Urban Cohort,” (published online March 10) followed 1,202 economically disadvantaged, minority participants who attended kindergarten in Chicago Public Schools and responded to periodic surveys about family and school experiences throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. ACEs that participants were asked about included whether they had been a victim of violent crime, had witnessed a shooting or stabbing, or experienced the death of a family member, friend or relative, frequent family conflict, prolonged absence or divorce of their parents or substance abuse by a parent. In addition to education level, these experiences also affected occupational prestige, criminal activity, health-compromising behaviors and mental health by the time participants reached age 26.

Authors of the study, funded with National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and National Science Foundation grants, said their findings show that the harmful effect of ACEs extend above and beyond socio-economic status. They said early childhood programs can buffer the negative effects of early, traumatic experiences and should be more widely available.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.