This is the first community study which specifically addresses the relationship between childhood abuse and vulnerability to illness with reliable methods. It derives from the collaboration of New Zealand (University of Dunnedin) and Italian (University of Modena) investigators coordinated by Professor Sarah Romans.
There have been many studies documenting adverse psychiatric consequences for people who have experienced childhood and adult sexual and physical abuse. These include posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders and probably some personality disorders or trait abnormalities. Much less is known about the links between abuse and physical/psychosomatic conditions in adult life. Hints of causal links are evident in the literature discussing headache, lower back pain, pelvic pain and irritable bowel syndrome.
These studies are not definitive as they use clinic-based samples. This study used interview data with a random community sample of New Zealand women, half of whom reported childhood sexual abuse and half who did not. Details about childhood physical abuse and adult abuse were also collected in a two-phase study. Complex relationships were found, as abuses tended to co-occur.
Prof. Sarah Romans | alfa
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