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A history of sexual abuse and health: A Nordic multicentre study
Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Gender and Medicine.
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2004 (English)In: British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, ISSN 1470-0328, Vol. 111, no 10, 1121-1127 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives: To determine if a history of sexual abuse is associated with objective and subjective indicators of health and if certain abusive incidents had a stronger impact on health than others. Design: A cross-sectional, multicentre study. Setting: Five gynaecological departments in the five Nordic countries. Sample: Three thousand five hundred and thirty-nine gynaecology patients. Methods: The NorVold Abuse Questionnaire (NorAQ) on abuse history and current health was mailed to all patients who consented to participate. Main outcome measures: Reason for index visit at the gynaecologic clinic as well as several questions on health were recorded. General health status was measured as self-estimated health, psychosomatic symptoms (headache, abdominal pain, muscle weakness, dizziness), number of health care visits and number of periods on sick leave. Result: A history of sexual abuse was reported by 20.7% of respondents. A history of sexual abuse was significantly associated with chronic pelvic pain as reason for index visit (P < 0.01), laparoscopic surgery (P < 0.01), psychosomatic symptoms (P < 0.01), self-estimated poor health (P < 0.01), many health care visits (P < 0.01) and high incidence of sick leave (P < 0.01). Several subgroups within the group of sexually abused women were more likely to report poor health: women abused as both children and adults, women who experienced additional emotional and/or physical abuse and women abused by a person they knew. Conclusion: Sexual abuse has a profound impact on women's health. Taking a history of sexual abuse seems particularly warranted when the patient presents with chronic pelvic pain or symptoms of a vague and diffuse nature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 111, no 10, 1121-1127 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-24254DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2004.00205.xLocal ID: 3856OAI: diva2:244571
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07 Last updated: 2011-01-12

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Swahnberg, KatarinaWijma, Barbro
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Faculty of Health SciencesGender and MedicineDepartment of Gynecology and Obstetrics in Linköping
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British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Medical and Health Sciences

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