What’s Your ACE Score and What Does It Mean?

What’s Your ACE Score and What Does It Mean?

To get your ACE score, answer the following 10 questions. For every ‘yes’ you get, give yourself a ‘1’. When finished, add up your ‘yes’ answers, and this will become your ACE score.

Prior to your 18th birthday:

  1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or Act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt? No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured? No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  3. Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever… Touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way? or Attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you? No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  4. Did you often or very often feel that … No one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? or Your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other? No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  5. Did you often or very often feel that … You didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you? or Your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it? No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  6. Were your parents ever separated or divorced? No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  7. Was your mother or stepmother: Often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? or Sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? or Ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife? No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs? No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide? No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  10. Did a household member go to prison? No___If Yes, enter 1 __

Now add up your “Yes” answers: _ This is your ACE Score

The ACE score shows an individual’s likelihood of developing adult, chronic disease. As your ACE score increases so does the risk for the development of emotional, psychological, physical chronic disease and social dysfunction.

With a score of 4 or more the percentages rise dramatically:

  • The chances of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary lung disease (COPD) increased 390%.
  • The chances of developing hepatitis increase 240%.
  • The chances of developing depression increase 460%
  • The chance of an attempted suicide increase 1220%.

It is equally important to understand the demographics of the participants in the ACE study.

The participants were not the struggling, the working poor or inner-city people of color.

There were 17,000+ participants who were:

  • from greater San Diego, CA
  • mostly Caucasian
  • middle to upper class income group
  • college-educated
  • with stable employment
  • and excellent healthcare.

They all belonged to the Kaiser Permanente Health Maintenance Organization.

66% of the 17,000 members scored at least a one on the ACE. Of these, 87% had multiple ACE’s.

Eighteen states have conducted ACE studies of their own, and have produced similar results to the original study completed by the Center for Disease Control.


The following graphs show the relationship between levels of chronic disease/social dysfunction and ever increasing scores on the ACE questionnaire

ACE Score vs. Adult Alcoholism

ACE Score vs. Chronic Depression

ACE Score vs. Anti-Depressant Prescriptions

ACE Score vs. The Risk of Perpetrating Domestic Violence

ACE Score vs. The Prevalence of Liver Disease

ACE Score vs. Adult Smoking

ACE Score vs. Later Victimization of Rape

ACE Score vs. Suicide Attempts

ACE Score vs. Teen Sexual Behavior

ACE Score vs. Indicators of Impaired Worker Performance

ACE Score vs. Prevalence of Chronic Obstructive

Pulmonary Disease