Childhood Adversity is Common

The CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study from 1995 to 1997 linked early childhood events to lifelong negative health and well-being outcomes.

Adverse childhood experiences, such as neglect, domestic violence, and parental substance abuse are traumatic or stressful events that lower an individual’s capacity to cope or adapt to future stressful events.

For too many, exposure to trauma or adversity is chronic, repetitive or ongoing and comes from multiple sources– for example, experiencing food insecurity while also experiencing divorce/separation. The cumulative impact of such ongoing exposure to trauma/stress in the absence of supportive buffers can result in prolonged activation of stress response systems known as toxic stress. Toxic stress can have detrimental effects on learning, behavior, and health well into adulthood.
household abuse reports
These are the ACEs that were studied by asking whether any of these events occurred prior to a persons’ 18th birthday

Early adversity has lasting impacts!

Negative Health Outcomes Odds Ratio Associated with ≥4 ACES
Coronary Heart Disease
Cancer (excluding skin)
All odds ratios from Merrick MT, Ford DC, Ports KA, et al., 2015-2017 except suicide (Hughes et al., 2017) and Alzheimer’s (Center for Youth Wellness, 2014)

Suicide rates in the United States for youth aged 10 to 19 years increased 33% from 1999-2014. The gender gap that previously existed in suicide rates is closing according to a study published in JAMA Network Open showing that starting in 2007 suicide rates for girls ages 10 to 14 began increasing by 13% annually compared to 7% for boys.

Individuals with 6 or greater ACES have a life expectancy that is 19 years shorter than individuals with none.

Why does this happen?

At the same time of the ACEs study, parallel research was being done on the brains of children that found that toxic stress damages the structure and function of a child’s developing brain. The changes in the structure of our brains results in these lasting long-term effects.

Fortunately, further research has determined that certain buffering protections can reduce the impact of stress, trauma and ACEs and the sooner these buffering protections are made and maintained, the better the health outcomes will be. Our brains are somewhat plastic and through certain practices and buffering protections we can alter the negative trajectory caused by ACEs and trauma.

The Six Buffering Protections

Six Buffering Protections
Music4Health programs are designed to prevent and protect against the toxic stress physiology created by ACEs, stress and trauma.

Educational Videos Provided to Music4Health

Stress and Resilience: How Toxic Stress Affects Us, and What We Can Do About IT
How Children and Adults Can Build Core Capabilities for Life
Executive Function: Skills for Life & Learning
The Power of Playful Learning

In Brief: The Science of Neglect

In Brief: What is resilience?

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