Who Is Talking About Adverse Childhood Experiences? Evidence From Twitter to Inform Health Promotion

Aditi Srivastav, Kaitlyn Park, Alyssa Koziarski, Melissa Strompolis, Jonathan Purtle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Growing availability of research about addressing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) has recently been embraced by the mainstream media and public. Social media, especially Twitter, provides a unique forum and platform for the public to access and share information about this topic. Objective: This study aims to better understand how the public is framing, sharing, and using research about ACEs on Twitter and to examine the information being commonly discussed about ACEs. Method: We obtained tweets on the topics of ACEs, childhood resilience, and childhood trauma between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2019. This timeframe was determined based on key related events in the mainstream media. Crimson Hexagon, a social media analytics system using Boolean logic, was used to identify salient topics, influencers, and conduct a content analysis. Results: A total of 195,816 relevant tweets were obtained from our search. The weekly volume was approximately 1,864 tweets. Key topics included general use of the term ACEs (23%), trauma and ACEs (19%), long-term impact of ACEs (12%), preventing ACEs (11%), short-term effects of ACEs (8%), the 1997 ACE Study (5%), and students with ACEs (5%). The top two sentiments were fear and joy. Top conversation influencers included pediatricians, child health advocacy organizations, California’s state government, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Public Radio. Conclusion: This analysis provides insight to the ways the public is conversing about ACEs and related topics. Results indicated that conversations focus on increasing awareness of ACEs by content experts and public health organizations. This presents an opportunity to leverage social media tools to increase public engagement and awareness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-626
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Twitter
  • adverse childhood experiences
  • health communication
  • public opinion
  • resilience
  • toxic stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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