Long-term medical consequences of incest, rape, and molestation

South Med J. 1991 Mar;84(3):328-31. doi: 10.1097/00007611-199103000-00008.


One hundred thirty-one patients who gave a history of childhood sexual abuse were seen in a general medical practice decades after the event and were compared with a control group. The subject patients were found to be distinct for chronic depression, morbid obesity, marital instability, high utilization of medical care, and certain psychosomatic symptoms, particularly chronic gastrointestinal distress and recurrent headaches. It is clear that these remote events can underlie difficult chronic medical problems. Questions about childhood sexual abuse must become part of the practitioner's review of systems in these difficult cases, if not routinely.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / complications*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Incest* / psychology
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Morbidity*
  • Obesity, Morbid / etiology
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / etiology
  • Rape* / psychology
  • Recurrence