Negative affect predicts adults' ratings of the current, but not childhood, impact of adverse childhood events. Academic Article uri icon


  • Adverse childhood events (ACE's) have been empirically related to a wide range of negative health and mental health outcomes. However, not all individuals who experience ACE's follow a trajectory of poor outcomes, and not all individuals perceive the impact of ACE's as necessarily negative. The purpose of this study was to investigate positive and negative affect as predictors of adults' ratings of both the childhood and adult impact of their childhood adversity. Self-report data on ACE experiences, including number, severity, and 'impact' were collected from 158 community members recruited on the basis of having adverse childhood experiences. Results indicated that, regardless of event severity and number of different types of adverse events experienced, high levels of negative affect were the strongest predictor of whether the adult impact of the adverse childhood events was rated as negative. All individuals rated the childhood impact of events the same. Implications are discussed.

publication date

  • October 2013