What Is a Childhood Trauma Test—and Can It Help You Be a Better Parent?

Many people are talking about BetterMe's childhood trauma test, but can it help you be a better person and parent? Two experts weigh in.

colorful collage illustration of mother holding daughter, floral elements, and grayscale broken family representation
Photo: Illustration by Boyoun Kim

Millions of people have had adverse childhood experiences and/or survived "childhood trauma." According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),1 in 7 children have experienced abuse or neglect this year, and that is likely an underestimate. It also doesn't account for everything. Childhood trauma can be the result of violence, abuse, neglect, terrorism, illness, and/or other family stressors. But can understanding your childhood be helpful? Maybe. One online test, by BetterMe, aims to do just that—with a questionnaire and personalized healing plan.

Here's everything you need to know about one (very popular) online childhood trauma test.

What Is the Childhood Trauma Test?

Made popular on TikTok, the childhood trauma test—by BetterMe—asks questions about issues you might grapple with, like guilt, abandonment, and mistrust. Some of these questions are broad. "Do you remember yourself in childhood," for example, or "what did your family look like?" Others are more pointed. They ask about punishment methods, and if you've ever been slapped or spanked. But each aims to better understand your experiences and how they affected (and still affect) you.

How Can You Take the Childhood Trauma Test?

All you need to do to take BetterMe's childhood trauma test is to go to their website. Once there, you'll be guided through a series of questions which take approximately one minute to answer. After completing the questionnaire, you'll be given your results and a suggested 28-day healing plan. That said, the latter comes at an additional expense. Plan costs vary.

What Are the Benefits of the Childhood Trauma Test, Particularly for Parents?

While an online test cannot resolve trauma or heal pain, having a basic understanding of your childhood can help you be a better person—and parent. "The most significant benefit of this test is that it can help you identify whether some of the experiences you've had and/or are having are tied to a difficult childhood," says Danielle McGraw, a licensed clinical psychologist and the owner of Flourish Mental Wellness in Scottsdale, Arizona. "This may motivate some to seek treatment." And said treatment can improve your mood and quality of life.

Questionnaires like these also get people to reflect on and identify negative experiences and consider how it affects them now, says McGraw, especially when it comes to parenting. "It is helpful to be aware of how trauma impacts our personality, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and how it impacts how we are as parents." Awareness is key.

"The are benefits to taking these online questionnaires or surveys because it brings about awareness and directives on acquiring professional evaluation and help," adds Nichole Monahan, LISW-S, LICDC, from The University of Toledo Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio. "Assistance with early detection of symptoms or issues has greater outcomes. Also, they can assist individuals in creating a conversation or discussion point with her health providers."

Are There Any Dangers or Downsides?

It's important to note that while BetterMe's online questionnaire can be beneficial, it is just that: a questionnaire. It is not a diagnostic tool and should not be used as such. It also cannot—and should not—replace formal therapy.

"Trauma is often complex and difficult to diagnose based on a 10 to 20 question online questionnaire," says McGraw. "The results page is also geared more towards marketing a product than towards treating a human being. While it seems like it may be a complement to therapy, it does not result in therapy. What's more, people may perceive that they have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after taking this quiz, but a PTSD diagnosis is not as simple as answering online questionnaire." In short, while this quiz can be insightful, it should be used in tandem with treatment or therapy, not in place of it.

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