A telephone survey of more than 4600 people in Great Britain offers an important data point for those of us parenting children who have suffered trauma. The survey asked people about their history of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and various health factors, both before and during the pandemic. The survey found that individuals with higher ACEs scores reported a greater impact from the effects of the pandemic and associated restrictions, but that close family and friend relationships lessened that impact.
The survey revealed a strong correlation between ACEs and poorer mental health, physical health, and sleep categories during the pandemic. In fact, the likelihood of experiencing these adverse health outcomes more than doubled for individuals with four or more ACEs, compared to those with no ACEs.
The aspect of the survey that I found most striking was that individuals with more trusted friends and family members were less likely to move into poorer health categories, regardless of their ACEs score. This highlights the importance of strong relationships in mitigating the negative effects of ACEs.
While the study has its limitations, as it relies on self-reported data, it aligns with previous research suggesting that supportive friend and family relationships can help counter the impact of trauma.
This reminds us that one of the most effective ways we can help children recover from trauma is by building strong and close relationships with them. Letting them know that we care about them is the best way we can help them built a foundation for overcoming the setbacks in their lives.