Methods: The first paper uses data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II), a longitudinal, nationally representative survey of children who have been the subject of a child welfare investigation. Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to identify sub-groups of children with similar ACE exposure. The second paper uses data from the recently released 2016 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) and also employs LCA to compare ACE subgroups for White, Black, and Hispanic children. The last paper describes findings from a recent feasibility report that applied the HOPE framework to four studies: the NSCH, the Wisconsin Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, yougov.com, and a nationwide social norms survey developed by Prevent Child Abuse America.
Results: The first paper found evidence for 5 subgroups of children in the NSCAW sample based on ACE exposure. Behavioral health symptoms were predicted by ACE subgroup. Similarly, the second paper found evidence of latent subgroups of ACEs in the NSCH. Importantly, the subgroup structure varied significantly across child race/ethnicity. The findings of the HOPE studies collectively reinforce the need to promote positive experiences for children and families in order to foster healthy childhood development despite the adversity common in so many families.
Conclusions: Existing research on ACEs has generated a new dialogue about the importance of early childhood experiences. As these findings are translated into practice, these studies indicate a need for a more nuanced conceptualization of adversity, as well as inclusion of positive experiences. Childhood experiences tend to cluster together, and are experienced differently among child subgroups. This body of research has significant implications for policy and practice.