Health >> Childhood Health Risks >> Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) >> King County/State Comparisons

Compared to adults in 5 states, King County adults had similar or lower rates of exposure to most adverse childhood experiences.

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, 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 King County data were averaged.

For most adverse childhood experiences reported by adults, King County results did not differ from results in the 2 comparison groups shown above – Washington State and the combined results from a pilot study in 5 states (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington).  However, during their childhoods,

  • King County adults were less likely than adults in at least one comparison group to have experienced:
    • Divorce or separation of parents (lower than 5-state comparison)
    • Household member in prison (lower than 5-state comparison)
    • Substance-abusing household member (lower than Washington State average)
    • Verbal abuse (lower than Washington State average)
  • King County adults were more likely than adults in at least one comparison group to have experienced:
    • Mentally ill household member (higher than 5-state comparison)
    • Verbal abuse (higher than 5-state comparison)