Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2022

Document Type

DNP Project

Project Team Faculty Member

Dr. Kelley McGuire

Project Team Faculty Member

Tracy Cooley, MSN


childhood trauma, adverse childhood experiences, childhood trauma questionnaire, screening tools



Childhood abuse, neglect and unusual stressful or traumatic conditions are common pediatric issues, with most Americans having experienced one kind of these adverse childhood experience (ACE) resulting in mental and physical issues in adulthood (Centers for Disease Control, 2010). Implementing a routine screening for patients will assist in identifying health concerns and can improve outcomes for the patient.


The aim of this project was to implement the use of a brief screening tool in a primary care medical office setting to assess for traumatic childhood experiences that have impact on a patient’s current morbidities.

Theoretical Framework

This quality improvement project was guided by the Biopsychosocial Model. The model demonstrates the complex interplay of the three major dimensions (biological, psychological, and social) in the development of psychiatric disorders.


The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) was administered to all patients seen at a rural central Illinois clinic. The office staff completed a brief questionnaire at the end of the initial implementation period. A 5-point Likert scale was used to evaluate the findings from the project.


Implementation of the CTQ screening tool in primary practice demonstrated that a screening process could be successfully implemented. Participants agreed that the CTQ was easy to understand and administer and a feasible screening tool to use in practice.


Implementing the CTQ was considered feasible and quick to administer at no cost to the facility. Further research should include replicating this QI project to a larger scale to validate findings from this study.

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