Adverse childhood Experiences and Lifelong Health


Childhood is a sensitive period with rapid neurological and cognitive development, and advances in neuroscience, molecular biology and epigenetics suggest that adversity in early childhood can disrupt the development of the stress response system, which may lead to lifelong impairments in mental and physical health. During recent years, the life-course approach has gained increasing attention, also in psychosocial epidemiology. But existing life-course studies such as, for example, the well-known British birth cohorts, encounter two basic methodological problems. First, they often do not have sufficient statistical power to address timing and accumulation of multiple stressors over the life course. Second, they encounter massive problems related to non-response and missing data. To circumvent these problems, we have established a large national register-based cohort study covering all people born in Denmark from 1980 and onwards, totaling 2.2 million people followed from birth and up to 36 years of age, called the Danish Life Course (DANLIFE) cohort. We will utilize this unique data source with high-resolution data from infancy into adult life to uncover the impact of childhood adversities on morbidity and mortality across the life span. Innovative epidemiological methods are needed to utilize this high-resolution and high-dimensional data, and we use multi-dimensional group-based trajectory models and sequence analysis combined with substance knowledge to describe and explore trajectories of childhood adversities.

Contact persons: Jessica Bengtsson (, Naja Hulvej Rod ( and Andreas Rieckmann (