Do Single Experiences of Childhood Abuse Increase Psychopathology Symptoms in Adulthood?

A1 Journal article (refereed)


Internal Authors/Editors


Publication Details

List of Authors: Wail Rehan, Jan Antfolk, Ada Johansson, Pekka Santtila
Publisher: Journal of Interpersonal Violence
Publication year: 2016
Journal: Journal of Interpersonal Violence
Journal acronym: JIV
Volume number: Published online
Start page: 1
End page: 18


Abstract

Experiencing emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse in childhood increases the risk (compared with baseline) of developing psychopathological symptoms in adulthood. In the present study, we explored the effects of experiencing only a single abusive event on adulthood psychopathology, and compared this with the risk in individuals with no abusive experiences and with the risk in individuals with several abusive experiences. We used a Finnish populationbased sample of 10,980 adult participants (3,766 male and 7,214 female twins and their siblings). The participants reported abuse experiences using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) and current psychopathology symptoms using the depression and anxiety scales of the Brief Symptom
Inventory–18 (BSI-18). We found that in both men and women even single
experiences of emotional and sexual abuse were associated with increased
psychopathology symptoms compared with no abuse experiences. Single
experiences of physical abuse did not, however, increase the risk in either
women or men. As expected, experiences of repeated abuse (of all abuse
types) increased the risk of psychopathology symptoms compared with experiences of single abuse. When we isolated individuals who only had a single experience of any type of abuse (i.e., emotional, physical, or sexual) to control for possible co-morbidity, no increased risk was found. This study shows that individuals who report experiencing single events of abuse of a specific abuse type have an increased risk of displaying psychopathology symptoms in adulthood. This increase is, however, mainly due to co-morbidity of abuse types.


Keywords

anxiety, childhood abuse, Depressive disorders, mental health and violence, physical abuse, psychopathology, sexual abuse

Last updated on 2019-18-11 at 03:23