Health >> Childhood Health Risks >> Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) >> Relationship Status, Disability, Sexual Orientation

Almost 1 in 3 adults who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual reported a high number of 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, 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).  Scores ranged from 0 to 8. To facilitate demographic comparisons, 3 years of data were averaged.

High ACE scores were disproportionately found among the following groups in King County:

  • Adults who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual (LGBT)
  • Adults with disabilities
  • Adults who were not in a couple relationship