WQED documentary examines Childhood Trauma




By George Hazimanolis


Doctors have long known that childhood trauma often plays out again in adulthood. But new studies suggest that early adversity actually affects physical health across a lifetime.

WQED premiered The Long Shadow of Childhood Trauma on December 12. This program includes frank discussion on physical abuse of children.

Program Description: The study is called ACEs – the Adverse Childhood Experience Scale, which lists ten stressful and traumatic events that can happen to children. Proponents of the study are calling on pediatricians to consider life events as they diagnose and treat children, with the goal of improving adult health and longevity by helping the children recover from early trauma. The documentary shares the stories of those whose lives were forever changed by childhood trauma, and shows how the Pittsburgh medical community is working to reverse the trend.

The documentary was produced and written by Emmy Award-winner Beth Dolinar, who was troubled but also reassured by the stories people shared. “It’s not always easy growing up in this culture,” she said. “What’s most important is that doctors are finding ways to ease the pain of early trauma, and to make lives better in the long run.”

This program wasmade possible with support from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.


WQED was an experiment in educational community-supported television that was the forerunner to PBS. Today, WQED is a multimedia powerhouse that is as much a part of Pittsburgh as the three rivers. WQED is WQED-TV (PBS); WQED World; WQED Create; WQED Showcase; WQED PBS KIDS Channel; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; the Pittsburgh Concert Channel at WQED-HD2 (89.3-2FM) and online at www.wqed.org/fm; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive (www.wqed.org) and WQED Education (www.wqed.org/edu).