A Delphi study to identify intervention priorities to prevent the occurrence and reduce the impact of adverse childhood experiences

Berhe W. Sahle, Nicola J. Reavley, Amy J Morgan, Marie Bee Hui Yap, Andrea Reupert, Anthony F. Jorm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: There is a lack of a systematic, coordinated approach to reducing the occurrence and impact of adverse childhood experiences. Hence, identifying feasible intervention priorities in this field will help inform policy and reformation of ongoing service delivery. The objective of this study was to identify expert consensus-driven priority interventions for reducing the occurrence and impact of adverse childhood experiences in children under 8 years of age in the Australian context. Methods: A three-round online Delphi survey was conducted to establish consensus on 34 interventions for adverse childhood experiences identified through a literature search. Six were general categories of interventions, 6 were broad intervention programmes and 22 were specific interventions. Participants were 17 health practitioners, 15 researchers, 9 policy experts, 7 educators and 3 consumer advocates with expertise in adverse childhood experiences or child mental health. Consensus was defined as an intervention being rated as ‘very high priority’ or ‘high priority’ according to its importance and feasibility by ⩾75% of all experts. Results: Seven of the 34 interventions were endorsed as priority interventions for adverse childhood experiences. These included four general categories of intervention: community-wide interventions, parenting programmes, home-visiting programmes and psychological interventions. Two broad intervention programmes were also endorsed: school-based anti-bullying interventions and psychological therapies for children exposed to trauma. Positive Parenting Program was the only specific intervention that achieved consensus. Conclusion: This is the first study to identify stakeholder perspectives on intervention priorities to prevent the occurrence and impact of adverse childhood experiences. Prioritisation of effective, feasible and implementable intervention programmes is an important step towards better integration and coordination of ongoing service delivery to effectively prevent and respond to adverse childhood experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)686-694
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Childhood adversity
  • priority interventions
  • Delphi method
  • expert consensus

Cite this