Relationships Between Childhood Maltreatment, Adult Health and Psychiatric Outcomes, and Medical Utilization
J Clin Psychiatry 2004;65(suppl 12):10-15
© Copyright 2015 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Childhood maltreatment strongly predicts poor psychiatric and physical health outcomes in adulthood.
This overview of the literature shows that individuals who suffer abuse, neglect, or serious family
dysfunction as children are more likely to be depressed, to experience other types of psychiatric
illness, to have more physical symptoms (both medically explained and unexplained), and to engage
in more health-risk behaviors than their nonabused counterparts. The more severe the abuse, the stronger
the association with poor outcomes in adulthood. Childhood sexual abuse in particular has been
repeatedly associated, in adulthood, with physical complaints such as chronic pain that are likewise
associated with depression. Individuals with a history of childhood abuse, particularly sexual abuse,
are more likely than individuals with no history of abuse to become high utilizers of medical care and
emergency services. Childhood maltreatment is highly prevalent among both men and women, especially
in specialty settings such as emergency psychiatric care.