Objective. A recent policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics outlines the central role of pediatricians in screening for and addressing precipitants of toxic stress (e.g., adverse experiences). Despite these recommendations, it is unknown whether pediatricians are in fact screening for these precipitants. Methods. A sample of 210 pediatricians serving low-income children completed a survey regarding their responses to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Participants were asked to estimate the prevalence of ACEs in their practice, their current practices, and recommendations for screening. Results. For nearly all ACEs, pediatricians’ estimates of the prevalence in their practice were lower than state-reported prevalence. For many ACEs, the number of pediatricians who support the need for recommended screening was far higher than the number who reported actually screening. Conclusions. Our findings suggest clinicians serving primarily low-income families recommend screening but may underestimate the prevalence of ACEs in their practice and may not be equipped to screen or address these matters consistently.


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pp. 686-700
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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