Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Gesundheitliche und soziale Folgen negativer Kindheitserfahrungen

Health and social consequences of adverse childhood experiences. An innovative approach of understanding adult health risks (ACE)

Project head: Prof. Dr. Matthias Richter

Project coordination: Dr. Julia Roick

Cooperation: Prof. Dr. Rafael Mikolajczyk, Dr. Alexander Kluttig

Duration: since 2017

Funding: budget financing (IMS)

Recent evidence suggests that adverse childhood experiences not only convey developmental impacts but also carry a unique capacity to impair adult health and well-being both independent of and cumulative with other contributors, including social disadvantage and stressful adult experiences. Several studies have shown that adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are associated with clinical, public health, and social problems throughout the life span. These findings suggest that time does not erase the effects of childhood adversities, but may only conceal its impact, even up to 40 to 50 years later. So far, evidence on the impact of ACE on adult health for the German population is scarce.

The aim of the project is to analyse the role of ACE for health as well as social trajectories in later life using a web-based questionnaire between T0 and T1 in the National Cohort (NAKO). The study will contribute to a better understanding of the public health implications of childhood adversity and related experiences.

NAKO participants who signed a written consent for further data collection are contacted by email via the study center Halle. If no email address is available, an invitation letter will be send by post. Data on ACEs will be collected by using a web-based survey between the NAKO baseline recruitment (T0) and the follow-up survey (T1). All age groups are asked to answer the questionnaire in order to take into account possible cohort-specific effects in the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences. Data on adverse childhood experiences will be gathered using the German version of the ACE Questionnaire (ACE-D) which examines a broad range of early childhood traumatic stressors (defined as any exposure to traumatic situations, chronic stressors, or specific traumatic events before age 18 years).