200 Childhood Trauma & School Success

Based on research by Jimenez, M. E., Wade, R., Lin, Y., Morrow, L. M., & Reichman, N. E. (2016) by Mara Rowcliffe, MS.

Does childhood trauma influence school success?

Psychology researchers wanted to better understand the impact trauma has on children. They interviewed the caregivers of over 1,000 kindergartners from an urban area. They discovered that more than half of the children encountered at least one of nine adverse experiences, while 12% had experienced three of them. These included neglect, physical, sexual, or psychological abuse. Trauma also consisted of living in a household with domestic abuse or with a family member who is incarcerated, has a mental illness or drug/alcohol addiction. The children who experienced at least 3 traumatic situations demonstrated 80% greater chance of having below average skills in math, language and literacy. They were also 3 times more likely to have attention and social problems. Their tendency to display aggression was more than double the children who had not experienced any trauma. When a child and parents focus their energy on handling traumatic experiences, there is less devoted to establishing a safe, secure, and healthy learning environment.

If a child is struggling in school, parents and teachers: consider seeking professional help for the family. Promote communication and help the child deal with any trauma.


Jimenez, M. E., Wade, R., Lin, Y., Morrow, L. M., & Reichman, N. E. (2016). Adverse Experiences in Early Childhood and Kindergarten Outcomes. Pediatrics, peds-2015.

Show More
Back to top button