The association between childhood abuse, PTSD, and the occurrence of adult health problems: moderation via current life stress

J Trauma Stress. 2006 Dec;19(6):967-71. doi: 10.1002/jts.20168.


The association between childhood abuse, current life stressors, and the occurrence of adult medical problems was investigated in the National Comorbidity Survey. It was found that after controlling for a number of covariates, current life stressors moderated the relationship between abuse history and medical problems such that health problems were greater for individuals who had been abused in the presence of current stressors. The findings suggest that a history of childhood abuse, even without the presence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can influence the occurrence of poor health if current life stressors are present. Future directions and implications are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / statistics & numerical data
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • United States / epidemiology