Race As An Adverse Childhood Experience [Florida State University]


  • Serena Bradshaw Florida State University
  • Karen Oehme Florida State University
  • Ann Perko Florida State University




race, ACEs, learned helplessness, systematic racism, institutionalized racism, medical disparity, race inequality, lack of access, adverse childhood experiences


The purpose of this study was to explore the issue of race as a trauma related to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The research was specifically focused on the black individual’s experience of being black in America and how this affects the psyche in the role of healing. The goal of this research is to help researchers think about the profound effects of race and help strengthen the ACEs scale. The ACEs scale is a scale that identifies trauma which is linked to later life well-being and health. Identifying ACEs, carefully understanding them, and providing preventative measures allow for healing and resilience building. This research is not the first of its kind, but is the first to be applied to the ACE scale. Databases of research were searched to find materials that include, but were not limited to: ACES, black trauma, post-enslavement, the psyche of African Americans, and other dynamics in the black community which combine to make the assumption that race is a traumatic experience. There was also research on the similarities and parallels of trauma within other cultures and ethnic groups. This resulted in the provocative conclusion that race is in fact an adverse childhood experience related to trauma. With this notion in mind, racial traumas should be accounted for in the new ACEs scales in order to help improve the well-being of minority populations. This is essential in ACEs for minority communities, which will lead to better preventive measures and healing efforts that will be culturally sensitive and accurate.


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Author Biography

Serena Bradshaw, Florida State University

Serena Bradshaw is currently a third year double majoring in Psychology and African American Studies at The Florida State university.



How to Cite

Bradshaw, S., Oehme, K., & Perko, A. (2019). Race As An Adverse Childhood Experience [Florida State University]. Journal of Student Research. https://doi.org/10.47611/jsr.vi.638