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Exposure to Child Abuse and Risk for Mental Health Problems in Women

NCJ Number
Violence and Victims Volume: 22 Issue: 5 Dated: 2007 Pages: 620-631
Renee Schneider; Nikki Baumrind; Rachel Kimerling
Date Published
12 pages
This study utilized data obtained from a population-based survey of California women to assess risk for adult mental health problems and probable posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis associated with exposure of child sexual, physical or emotional abuse, and multiple types of child abuse in a culturally and economically diverse sample of women.
As expected, child sexual, physical, and emotional abuse was independently associated with significant risk for each of the mental health outcome variables. Also, consistent with previous studies, results demonstrated relations between exposure to multiple types of child maltreatment and risk for adult mental health problems. Findings further demonstrate that exposure to multiple types of abuse is associated with substantial risk for mental health problems, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and suggest that the effectiveness of current interventions should be assessed for survivors of multiple types of child abuse. Despite study limitations, the study represents an important step in furthering understanding of relations between child sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and adult mental health problems. The results underscore the need for trauma-related treatment for survivors of physical and emotional abuse, as well as women with a history of child sexual abuse. This study was designed to extend prior research on relations between child abuse and adult mental health problems utilizing a population-based sample of California women. The primary aim was to assess the independent risk for adult mental health problems, including probable PTSD diagnosis, associated with each type of child abuse (sexual, physical and emotional). Tables, references


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