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What ACEs are and what they are not.

There is an Adverse Childhood Experience (or “ACEs”) quiz that includes 10 questions. The questions focus on traumatic incidents that a child may have experienced when they were under the age of 18. 


While the quiz is helpful, there are outside factors that are not included, like racism and other forms of discrimination, housing insecurities, community violence, natural disasters and genetic factors. Additionally, the quiz does not take into consideration children who had at least one stable and secure relationship with a supportive adult. It also does not consider that some children develope resilience - the ability to overcome hardships they faced - while others did not. 

Every person is different. Every person reacts differently to traumatic events. This quiz does not provide a full picture of the adversity a child has experienced because of the above extenuating factors. As such, the results do not mean that a higher score relates to inevitable emotional, social or health problems later in life. 

While the quiz is a helpful tool, it essential shows who might be at risk, not who is at risk. 

Add 1 for each answer your say "yes" to. The total number is your ACEs score out of 10. 

  1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or Act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?

  2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?

  3. Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever… Touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way? or Attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you?

  4. Did you often or very often feel that … No one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? or Your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?

  5. Did you often or very often feel that … You didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you? or Your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?

  6. Were your parents ever separated or divorced?

  7. Was your mother or stepmother:
    Often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? or Sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? or Ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?

  8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs?

  9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide?

  10. Did a household member go to prison?

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