Interventions to prevent ACEs

An Evidence-based review was undertaken to provide clinicians, policy makers, teachers, educators, health service providers and families with information about which interventions to prevent ACEs and reduce their negative  impact on mental health are effective, which are not, and which have not been adequately evaluated.

We searched the peer-reviewed literature, grey literature, reference lists of included studies, and well-known international and Australian websites that were published between January 2010 and January 2020 to identify research evidence on interventions to prevent ACEs and/or reduce their negative impacts. Interventions from randomised or non-randomised studies were included in the evidence review if they:

  1. were designed to reduce the occurrence of ACEs in children (newborn to 8 years) or reduce their impact on mental health during or after childhood;
  2. were evaluated for effectiveness in high-income countries; and
  3. are currently being implemented or available for users or, alternatively, have not yet been implemented but their effectiveness has been assessed in at least two studies in the last 5 years.

A total of 26 different interventions were identified.  A summary of interventions and their level of supporting evidence can be seen in Table 1 below. Parenting Programs (Triple P, and Incredible Years) both had the highest level of evidence, meaning these programs were found to be the most effective. Read more... 

Of these, Community-wide interventions, Positive parenting programs, Home- visiting programs, Psychological interventions, and School-based programs were considered to be the most relevant interventions within the Australian context. Evidence briefs for each of these interventions have been developed and can be found here.


Table 1. Summary of interventions and level of supporting evidence

Sahle B., Reavley N., Morgan A., Yap M., Reupert A., Loftus H., Jorm A. Communication Brief: Summary of interventions to prevent adverse childhood experiences and reduce their negative impact on mental health: An evidence based review. Centre of Research Excellence in Childhood Adversity and Mental Health, Melbourne, Australia, 2020

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