Article

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.

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    • "Child maltreatment represents a serious public health concern in the United States and abroad (Gilbert et al., 2009; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2013) and has been related to a number of physical health conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, inflammation, obesity, and poor general health (Chartier, Walker, & Naimark, 2007; Danese, Pariante, Caspi, Taylor, & Poulton, 2007; Flaherty et al., 2006; Wegman & Stetler, 2009; Widom, Czaja, Bentley, & Johnson, 2012). With some exceptions, the existing literature relies heavily on cross-sectional designs that provide support for an association between childhood adversities and health outcomes. "
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    Child Abuse & Neglect 02/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.chiabu.2015.01.016 · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    • "The current sample was gathered from six counties in Norway and is, therefore, considered to be fairly representative of the country. In addition, linking the registry data to the questionnaire data allowed us to investigate recent reports of abuse (within the past 12 months), rather than using retrospective data, which can result in recall bias (Wegman and Stetler 2009). The self-reported questionnaire also allowed us to investigate perceived social support, which is a valuable asset when studying its effects (Cohen and Wills 1985). "
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    Journal of Youth and Adolescence 07/2014; 43(10). DOI:10.1007/s10964-014-0145-4 · 2.72 Impact Factor
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    • "There are well-established links between childhood social adversity and mortality–morbidity in later life (Roustit et al., 2011; Schwartz et al., 1995; Wegman & Stetler, 2009). For the internal prediction model, such links are expected, and indeed their existence is the reason that psychosocial acceleration is adaptive. "
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