Your ACE score (childhood trauma) and your Resilience score

Your ACE score (childhood trauma) and your Resilience score

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This is a discussion on Your ACE score (childhood trauma) and your Resilience score within the General Psychology forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; After posting a thread about how childhood trauma affects your personal development, a fellow PerC member, @ HighwayMan posted an ...

  1. #1

    Your ACE score (childhood trauma) and your Resilience score

    After posting a thread about how childhood trauma affects your personal development, a fellow PerC member, @HighwayMan posted an interested study by the CDC.

    The ACE score indicates you level of childhood trauma.
    The Resilience score indicates your likelihood of healthy adjustment into adulthood.
    Got Your ACE Score? « ACEs Too High

    My ACE = 6
    Resilience = 10

    Husband's ACE = 8
    His resiliency = 11

    My comments and analysis of the study:
    (It seems) the questionnaire's perspective is that resilience is attributed to if a child felt loved, if there was an extended support system or a champion in their life, having structure, independence and hope. These things are directly linked to self-esteem, self-worth, and valuing the concept of life.

    Out of all those ACE factors and resilience factors, the majority of those are out of the child's control. The hand the child is dealt is 80% dependent on the decisions of others and only 20% on their own pre-disposition to independence and optimism.

    So, it's not necessarily about the numbers, but more of what you were subjected to as a child, but now as an adult, how you can use that knowledge to provide for yourself what you did not receive as a child. You build your own resiliency to defeat those odds against you.

    If a child has a high ACE score and a low resilience score, as an adult one might look at themselves and their behaviours to see if they are trying to 1) try to fill a void of not feeling loved, 2) being distrustful of others, a belief that there is no such thing as a solid support system because they feel that they are not worthy of something that's too good to be true, 3) overcompensating for a lack/excess of structure in their childhood by replacing that as an adult with something else - from lashing out against authority in a life of crime, to escapism via drug or alcohol. A result of a lack of independence may be reflected in becoming dependent on another, getting into unhealthy relationships that foster co-dependency. A lack of hope leading to suicide attempts or self-sabotaging behaviours.

    When those specific issues have been identified, the adult child can now formulate a strategy on how to provide those things for themselves in a healthy way to re-build resiliency and a love of life.

    In essence, taking control (in balance) of their own lives.
    Feel free to share as much or as little about your life here, or even to talk about the study itself. Or, simply calculate your own numbers as a personal reference and do some private reflection.

    MBTI and Enneagram are both good tools for self-discovery and self-improvement. However imperfect the ACE index maybe, it's analysis and subsequent dialogue could offer some insight that contributes to your own personal development.

    So, your "score" does not mean it's a competition to see who had it worse, but an indicator of the hand you were dealt. As an adult, you can work to your way back to health and control over those factors. If you're a teen or younger and still in the throes of trauma, you can build your own resilience by holding onto hope. A belief that things will get better, and that you can make it better one day.

    Original thread:
    Traumatic experience altering the personality
    heaveninawildflower, herinb and aphinion thanked this post.

  2. #2


    The thing I think is weird about the resilient end of it tho is that is was basing the level of support someone has had or encouragement. I myself break about 50/50 on that and have usually been candid in relevant threads or topics that I myself had both support and lack of depending growing up. I just do not think that entirely should be how they chose to find resilience scores.

    I'd rather not share my childhood here in this thread today but the test was interesting thanks.

  3. #3

    Ace: 7
    Resilience: 4

    A few things I wrote about my childhood...
    My childhood was affected by domestic violence, which made it impossible for my parents to be emotionally present. There were situations that I had witnessed (a few were quite traumatic) growing up in a home with DV, and things I had to endure....I learned to endure a lot of emotional pain.
    I am a survivor of domestic violence. I grew up with it, and as an adult I ended up in abusive relationships (yes, that means more than once). When I was a child I had to live with traumatic stress for many years. And I was taught as a child that I was unlovable, unwanted, that I deserved the abuse and neglect, and that I was not worth protecting. I lived through a different kind of war (in my home) as a child and I had to find my own way out, and I had no idea where to start.
    I also ran away from home a few times and I left home for good when I was 16.
    stiletto and FreeBeer thanked this post.

  4. #4

    ACE: 6/10 to 8/10, depending on what counts
    Resilience: 8/14 to 10/14, depending on my age

    I really didn't think that my ACE score would be that high. Still, there's a lot of grey area in my life that could make my score a 6/10 or an 8/10. For example, I was apparently molested once by a cousin when I was really little, but I don't remember it so I'm not sure if it counts. My parents had extremely heated and frequent verbal arguments, but my dad only physically hurt my mom a few times and I never saw it. My dad got a DUI, went to jail, and lost his license. But once again, that's not prison, so I'm still not sure if it counts.

    My parents were always in debt and sometimes had literally no money, and while I knew that was bad and that it meant we couldn't buy things I'm not sure if I quite connected that it could mean no food or house. My childhood was very up and down. It was good, then suddenly everything was bad, but it never stayed at one point long enough for me to have it define my childhood. It wasn't perfect, but my parents' childhoods were a LOT worse, so I don't really have the right to complain. Honestly, a score of 6 to 8 seems WAY too high for my childhood, but I can't get it any lower without pretending some things didn't happen.

    I'm actually a little surprised that they don't have any questions about moving or finances. I've moved 16 times over nineteen years, which was always a big change. Fortunately, most of the moves were within the same town so again, it's not as bad as it sounds.
    But as far as finances go, I'd say that money was easily the most stressful aspect of my childhood. I still have issues asking people for money, but on the plus side it's made me very uptight about my own finances.

    For my Resilience score, it was probably around 10/14 when I was younger, then 8/14 once I started understanding and getting involved in my family's drama.

    --On the topic of holding out hope:

    I had a very hard time as a teenager with holding out hope that things would get better. Towards the end of high school I started to actually feel like I was stuck in some sort of suspended time loop where I was being tricked into thinking that time would pass and that I would graduate but that I was actually never going to hit 18. Of course I knew intellectually that the time would pass, but the feeling of being stuck was very real, and it was hard to get past. I never seriously considered suicide, but I was so done with everything and everyone by my senior year. I was declined from every single college I applied to despite high test scores and decent grades, so I resigned myself to community college.

    Halfway through my senior year I moved out of my dad's house and didn't see him for 7 months. My relationship with my mom had been deteriorating since I was 15, so that summer I moved out of my mom's. I rented a room in a house with four people in their 20's and illegally signed the lease by pretending that I was 18 instead of 17. I managed to pay my rent through babysitting and ended up finally adopting my own cat 1 week before turning 18 (which the shelter allowed because I used to work there and got one of my roommates to sign.)

    It felt so liberating to be completely in control of my own life, but there were a lot of problems with being independent, the biggest ones being finances and my unsteady relationship with my family. I was barely making enough money to pay rent, and if I wanted to go to school full time I would make even less. So after three months, I moved out of my room and moved in to live completely at my dad's house (which was probably one of the most awkward transitions of my life) to save $500 a month and get away from my messy and weird roommates.

    It was hard to rebuild a relationship with my dad, but I did. I made the choice to not take any crap from him and to stand up for myself. It was hard to do, but our relationship is exponentially better now. I ended up getting a full time nannying job last February that forced me to really grow up, but also gave me my own source of income and helped to strengthen my relationship with my mom (who is a career nanny and ended up giving invaluable advice.) I bought myself furniture, my own clothes, and finally got glasses. I somehow got a car and a credit card so now I have credit. I built myself a savings. At the end of December I left my job on great terms and am now about to start going to school full time.

    tldr; (Because I know that was a lot and pretty off topic but still felt nice to write out)
    You are not powerless. I know it's hard to do things for yourself when you're under 18, but hold onto hope. I don't even know how to fully put it into words, but you have to know that things will change. You will be able to change your life. And sometimes you can fix parts of your life that you thought were permanently destroyed, so don't give up on those either. It's okay to cut ties to do what's best for you, but it's okay to hope that you can still fix things.

    Aaaaaaaanyway, I typed a lot and said a lot of personal stuff, so yeaaaahhh...... o_o

  5. #5

    My ACE score is 0 but I think I had an unhappy childhood what the heck?
    voron, Sporadic Aura and Bluefireluv thanked this post.

  6. #6

    ACE: 4
    Resiliency: 8

    I found it difficult to answer some of the resiliency questions, because certain aspects varied throughout my childhood. I tried to guess the average.

  7. #7

    My ACE = 3/10
    Resilience = 8/14

    Idk I grew up in a home where verbal abuse, blackmail, guilt tripping, yelling, door slamming and object smashing, threats, shaming, invalidating and so on were regular (as in every weak), but it was mostly between my parents and their relatives/parents (we lived with them). No real physical violence or drug abuse tho minus my at the time alcoholic uncle. My parents love me, same goes for my dad's relatives, not so on mom's side.

    :/ its weird needing to defend one's parents from their own parents and relatives. Mom ran away from home several times :/... she couldn't handle it, she still can't. The situation pretty much destroyed her life.

    Not so good with grandparents tho. Grandma is about to disown me and I pretty much told her I will piss on her grave / she can keep her stuff along with her backhanded psychopathic bullshit. I really hate my grandmother, well me and most everyone else...I'm just open about it.

    Stuff I went through: suicide attempt, depressive breakdown, chronic long term depression 22 years and going, severe social anxiety and low self esteem, a lot of anger issues, most of which is under control now.
    Last edited by LibertyPrime; 01-06-2016 at 03:44 AM.
    Gilly thanked this post.

  8. #8

    Some serious flaws in this test. More specifically the Ace one.
    Mother but not father abused option? Close minded of them really ;)

    Ace - 8/10
    Res - 9/14

  9. #9

    ACE: 4 (possibly lower, though the test did say before age 18)
    Resilience: 5

    I feel like my answers to the ACE questions are exaggerations, even though yes, things like those did happen. And I have no idea how to answer half the resilience questions. We were mostly on our own, our family didn't have friends, and for some reason I stopped trusting my mom's feelings somewhere in preadolescence. Similarly, I'm a little inclined to think the alternative to love is something like outright hate or dislike; in our family it's mostly indifference. Everyone's estranged and I've had very little contact with relatives outside of my parents.

    Not sure why I'm even responding to this, lol. I had, like, the perfect upbringing by these scores.

    Quote Originally Posted by komm View Post
    My ACE score is 0 but I think I had an unhappy childhood what the heck?

    Not to put too fine a point on it but....why? Just curious.
    Last edited by ScientiaOmnisEst; 01-06-2016 at 12:00 PM.
    Bluefireluv thanked this post.

  10. #10

    My ACE score was a 3 ... so ... things could've been worse?

    My Resiliency score ... holy hell, those are a lot of "Definitely Not Trues" that I'm circling ... I'm getting like a 1 or 2. Wow.
    Bluefireluv and GIA Diamonds thanked this post.

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