A telephone survey of more than 4600 people in Great Britain sheds light on the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and various health factors before and during the pandemic. The survey found that individuals with higher ACEs scores reported a greater impact from the effects of the pandemic and associated restrictions, but that close family and friend relationships lessened that impact.
The survey revealed a strong correlation between ACEs and poorer mental health, physical health, and sleep categories during the pandemic. In fact, the likelihood of experiencing these adverse health outcomes more than doubled for individuals with four or more ACEs, compared to those with no ACEs.
In one important result, the survey also found that individuals with more trusted friends and family members were less likely to move into poorer health categories, regardless of their ACEs score. This highlights the importance of strong relationships in mitigating the negative effects of ACEs.
While the survey has its limitations, as it relies on self-reported data, it aligns with previous research suggesting that supportive friend and family relationships can help counter the impact of trauma.
This survey reminds us that one of the most effective ways youth-serving organizations can help children recover from trauma is by providing them with the tools to develop and maintain healthy relationships. By prioritizing the development of strong relationships, we can better support children in overcoming the challenges posed by adverse childhood experiences.