Health >> Childhood Health Risks >> Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) >> Frequency of ACEs

Many King County adults reported exposure to stressful experiences during childhood.

During childhood, frequent or extended exposure to toxic stressors – such as abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction – can impair brain development, with potentially lifelong consequences for health and wellbeing.  Similarly, certain attitudes and preferences in adolescence can predict whether teens are likely to engage in unhealthy or delinquent behaviors. 

In a telephone survey, King County adults were asked to think back to the years before they were 18 and report their exposure to any of 8 categories of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).  To facilitate demographic comparisons, 3 years of data were averaged.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are fairly common among King County adults. 

  • The most common ACE was verbal abuse (31%).
  • The least common ACE was having a household member in prison (5%).
  • More than one in 5 reported parental separation, a household member with drug or alcohol use, or a household member with mental illness.