Gender differences in long-term health consequences of physical abuse of children: data from a nationally representative survey

Am J Public Health. 2004 Apr;94(4):599-604. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.4.599.


Objectives: This study investigated the effects of physical abuse in childhood on health problems in adulthood and assessed gender differences in these associations.

Methods: We used data from 8000 men and 8000 women who were interviewed in the National Violence Against Women Survey. We used multivariate logistic regression to test for main and interactive effects and conducted post hoc probing of significant moderational effects.

Results: Men were more likely than women to have experienced physical abuse during childhood. Whereas abuse had negative consequences for both boys and girls, it was generally more detrimental for girls.

Conclusions: Findings suggest the need to consider gender differences and long-term adverse health consequences in the development of intervention strategies to address physical abuse in childhood.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Child
  • Child Abuse* / psychology
  • Child Abuse* / rehabilitation
  • Child Abuse* / statistics & numerical data
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology