A meta-analytic review of the effects of childhood abuse on medical outcomes in adulthood.

Department of Psychology, Furman University, Greenville, SC 29613, USA.
Psychosomatic Medicine (Impact Factor: 4.09). 09/2009; 71(8):805-12. DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181bb2b46
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To summarize the relationship between abuse during childhood and physical health outcomes in adulthood and to examine the role of potential moderators, such as the type of health outcome assessed, gender, age, and the type of abuse. Studies using self-report assessment methods were compared with studies using objective or independently verifiable methods.
The current study is a quantitative meta-analysis comparing results from 78 effect sizes across 24 studies including 48,801 individuals.
Experiencing child abuse was associated with an increased risk of negative physical health outcomes in adulthood (effect size d = 0.42, 95% Confidence Interval = 0.39-0.45). Neurological and musculoskeletal problems yielded the largest effect sizes, followed by respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal and metabolic disorders. Effect sizes were larger when the sample was exclusively female and when the abuse was assessed via self-report rather than objective, independently verifiable methods.
Child abuse is associated with an increased risk of poor physical health in adulthood. The magnitude of the risk is comparable to the association between child abuse and poor psychological outcomes. However, studies often fail to include a diverse group of participants, resulting in a limited ability to draw conclusions about the population of child abuse survivors as a whole. Important methodological improvements are also needed to better understand potential moderators.

1 Bookmark
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Little is known about mortality among firesetters. However, they hold many risk factors associated with elevated mortality. This study aimed to investigate mortality rates and patterns in the course of a 39-year follow-up of a consecutive sample (n=441) of pretrial male firesetters evaluated in a forensic psychiatric unit in Finland. For each firesetter, four controls matched for age, sex and place of birth were randomly selected from the Central Population Register. Mortality data was obtained from the Causes of Death statistics. By the end of the follow-up period, 48.0% of the firesetters and 22.0% of the controls had died (OR 2.47, 95% CI 2.00-3.05). Altogether, 24.1% of the firesetters and 17.6% of the control subjects had died of natural causes (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.16-1.92), whereas 20.9% and 3.8% respectively, died an unnatural death (OR 6.71, 95% CI 4.79-9.40). Alcohol-related deaths were more frequent among firesetters than controls. Our findings confirm that fire-setting behavior is associated with high mortality. More attention must be paid to the treatment of suicidality, psychiatric comorbidities and alcohol use disorders within this group both during and after their sentences. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Psychiatry Research 12/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2014.11.032 · 2.68 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 01/2014; DOI:10.1093/scan/nsu073 · 5.88 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction: We previously reported a unique hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis profile in women with a menstrually related mood disorder (MRMD) who also had a history of sexual abuse (SA). In the present study, we sought to extend that work by examining the association of an SA history with HPT-axis disturbance in both women with MRMD and women without MRMD. Methods: Fifty-seven women met the prospective criteria for MRMD (23 with an SA history), and 52 women were non-MRMD (18 with an SA history). Thyroid-stimulating hormone, thyroxin (T4; total and free), and triiodothyronine (T3; total and free) were evaluated in serum, together with thyroid hormone ratios reflecting T4 to T3 conversion. Results: Women with MRMD, compared with women without MRMD, had elevated T3/T4 ratios (p values <= .01; reflecting increased conversion of 14 to 13) and lower free and total T4 concentrations (p values = .01). Higher T3/T4 ratios and lower T4 concentrations predicted more severe premenstrual symptoms in all women. An SA history, irrespective of MRMD status, was associated with elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone concentrations (p = .03). However, in women with MRMD, an SA history was associated with elevated T3 concentrations (p = .049), whereas in women without MRMD, an SA history was associated with decreased 13 concentrations (p = .02). Conclusions: An MRMD and an SA history are associated with independent and interactive effects on the HPT axis. The evidence that an MRMD moderates the influence of SA on T3 concentrations contributes to a growing body of work suggesting that an SA history may identify a distinct subgroup of women with MRMD.
    Psychosomatic Medicine 10/2012; 74(8):810-816. DOI:10.1097/PSY.0b013e31826c3397 · 4.09 Impact Factor


Available from