Childhood Trauma

Childhood Trauma Childhood trauma occurs when a child experiences an actual or threatened negative event, series of events, or set of circumstances that cause emotional pain and overwhelm the child’s ability to cope. Childhood trauma is widespread and can take many forms. Common types of childhood trauma include:

 Abuse and neglect

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 Family violence

 Community violence

 School violence

 Life-threatening accidents and injuries

 Frightening or painful medical procedures

 Serious and untreated parental mental illness

 Loss of or separation from a parent or other loved one

 Natural or manmade disasters

 War or terrorist attack

 Forced displacement or refugee status

 Discrimination

 Extreme poverty Trauma exposure often begins early in life. Young children are at the highest risk for exposure to trauma and are most vulnerable to its adverse effects. An estimated half of all children in the United States—approximately 35 million—are exposed to at least one type of trauma prior to their eighth birthday. For example, child abuse and neglect are most common among children younger than age 3. Children under age 5 are most likely to incur injuries from falls, choking, and poisoning, and represent the majority of children who witness domestic violence. Children from certain racial and ethnic groups also are more likely to experience adversities that can cause trauma.