This guide provides healthcare students and professionals with a foundational background on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) – traumatic early life experiences, which can have a profound impact on health in later life.

ACEs can include being a victim of abuse, neglect or exposure to risk in the home or community. How healthcare students and professionals learn to recognize, react and respond to persons affected by trauma will lay the foundation for their relationships with patients. This book intentionally uses micro-to-macro lenses accompanied by a structural competency framework to elucidate health implications across the lifespan. It explores the nature of adversity and its effects on the physical, emotional, cognitive and social health of individuals, communities and society. The book, written by two experienced psychiatric nurses, will equip healthcare students and professionals with an understanding for critical change in practice and offer action steps designed to assist them with prevention and intervention approaches and steps to help build resilience.

This book will be core reading for healthcare students within mental health, pediatric and primary care nursing courses. It will also be of interest to students and professionals in the social work, psychology and public health fields who are exploring resilience and trauma-informed practices

part I|2 pages

Knowledge development about ACEs

chapter 1|3 pages


Repression to spoken truth – Opening up

chapter 2|8 pages

Making the connection

The ACE study

chapter 3|11 pages

Toxic stress, adversity, and trauma

part II|2 pages

Understanding ACEs from a life course health development perspective

chapter 4|7 pages

The body keeps the score


chapter 5|7 pages

Early brain development

Childhood trauma and adversity

chapter 6|12 pages

Developmental psychology

Implications of ACEs

chapter 7|8 pages

Community and structural determinants

Implications of ACEs

part III|2 pages

Reducing ACEs

chapter 8|11 pages

Socioecological model

Individual and family influences

chapter 9|11 pages

Socioecological model

Context and cultural influences

part IV|2 pages

ACE intervention: A social-ecological approach

part V|2 pages


chapter 12|9 pages

Moving forward