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Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs)

In 2019, the results of a study of 6,188 adults at Johns Hopkins were released. The focus of the study was to identify Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs) that could buffer against the health effects of traumatic ones. Why is it that some children who experience adversity in childhood go on to have healthy, appropriate development and good adult mental and emotional health? The researchers were looking to identify the factors that created a level of resiliency in these young people that helped them to thrive, despite difficult childhoods marred by trauma. The study found 7 positive childhood experiences (PCEs) can be statistically linked to good emotional and mental health in adults. It found that children with PCEs become adults who are able to seek social and emotional support!

The PCEs study helps shape research moving in an additional direction: increasing positive childhood experiences to build resilience in kids who have experienced trauma, and those who may in the future. The relationship between PCEs in childhood and good mental health in adults is dose-responsive; simply put, the more PCEs a child gets, the better their adult mental health is likely to be.


The 7 PCEs are:

1.       The ability to talk with family about feelings.

2.       The sense that family is supportive during difficult times.

3.       The enjoyment of participation in community traditions.

4.       Feeling a sense of belonging in high school.

5.       Feeling supported by friends.

6.       Having at least two non-parent adults who genuinely cared.

7.       Feeling safe and protected by an adult in the home.

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In relation to Ability to Talk with Family about Feelings

In relation to family is supportive during difficult times

In relation to enjoyment of participation in community traditions

8. Consider community traditions that you do NOT attend or participate in right now. Imagine the foster or kinship child in your care is eager to participate, but perhaps the event clashes with your own community traditions (their AFL game is on the same time as your child’s netball game) or clashes with your values (they do not want to attend the Anzac day march, but you always do; they open Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve and you do it on Christmas morning, etc). Reflect on how you make the decision to participate or not and how the child (and yourself) may feel about these ‘clashes’ of important traditions.

What was your experience of high school? Did you feel a sense of belonging?

In relation to feeling supported by friends

In relation to feeling supported by friends

In relation to having one adult who made you feel safe and protect in the home

Thank you for your submission.
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