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More than One-Third of Ohio Adults Have History of Childhood Trauma

Nov 1, 2019

Our physical and emotional health is shaped by our experiences in childhood. Research has shown that individuals who undergo adversity in childhood are more likely to be victims and perpetrators of violence, experience mental health disorders and have fewer positive educational and health outcomes. To help understand the burden of these Adverse Childhood Experiences on Ohio adults, the 2019 Ohio Health Issues Poll asked respondents whether, prior to age 18, they’d faced three of the most common: divorce or separation of a parent or guardian, death of a parent or guardian or incarceration of a parent or guardian.

OHIP found that 37% of Ohio adults had experienced at least one of these events. Divorce or separation of a parent or guardian was most common, experienced among 29% of Ohio adults. Death of a parent or guardian (12%) and incarceration of a parent or guardian (7%) were much less common.  

“As we work together to create strong, healthy communities where all people can survive and thrive, we must consider the impact of childhood trauma,” said O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H., President and CEO of Interact for Health. “People with a diagnosis of Adverse Childhood Experiences need access to resources and programs that build the resilience necessary to overcome these challenges.”

The OHIP data are being released today in conjunction with the conference “Identifying and Integrating Interventions for Young Children of Addicted Parents,” co-sponsored by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the Collaborative for Children of Addicted Parents. More than 250 attendees will gather at Xavier University’s Cintas Center to learn about treatment options for children age 0-5 and families affected by familial substance use disorders. The conference includes a keynote presentation on the biological impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences from Dr. Robert Shapiro of Cincinnati Children’s.  

Additional survey data

The percentage of Ohio adults who experienced divorce or separation and experienced incarceration is similar to the nation, OHIP found. National data on the death of parent or guardian is not available.

Research also shows that long-term risks to heath increase as the number of Adverse Childhood Experiences increases. In Ohio, 9% reported going through two of the experiences measured, and 1% experienced all three.

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