Charting a course towards resilience following adverse childhood experiences: Addressing intergenerational trauma via strengths-based intervention


Early research on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) provided staggering evidence of the significant ramifications of ACEs on physical health and functioning. It brought to the forefront the importance of addressing trauma and family dysfunction to enhance public health. Over the past several decades, the study of childhood adversity has blossomed, with expanded conceptualizations and assessments of ACEs. This review brings together various biological, psychological, and socio-logical principles that inform our understanding of ACEs and our approach to treatment. Specifically, we document the evolution of ACEs research, focusing on the intergenerational impact of ACEs, the importance of incorporating a resilience framework when examining ACEs, and implementing interventions that address adversity across generations and at multiple levels of the social ecology. Evidence is provided to support the evolving perspective that ACEs have long-lasting effects beyond the ACE(s)-exposed individual, with significant attention to the impact of parental ACEs on child development. An intergenerational and multilevel approach to understanding and addressing ACEs offers specific areas to target in interventions and in public policy.

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