Your Body & Brain

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, first published in 1998, measured 10 types of childhood trauma. Five types were the usual suspects: physical, sexual and verbal abuse and physical and emotional neglect. Five were family dysfunction: a member of the household who is addicted to alcohol or other drugs; a household member who is in prison; a household member with a mental illness; a mother who is a victim of domestic abuse; and loss of a parent due to separation or divorce. There are, of course, other types of adversity—for instance, witnessing a sibling being abused, being bullied at school, witnessing neighborhood violence, experiencing a natural disaster—but those were not measured. Some subsequent surveys have included other types of trauma.