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, 7 (5), 583-97

The Long-term Physical Health and Healthcare Utilization of Women Who Were Sexually Abused as Children

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The Long-term Physical Health and Healthcare Utilization of Women Who Were Sexually Abused as Children

Amy E Sickel et al. J Health Psychol.

Abstract

This article addresses the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and the long-term physical health and healthcare utilization of 148 female participants in an eight-year prospective study. Five factors of physical health emerged: General Health; Vegetative Health Symptoms; Colds and Flu; Gastrointestinal/Gynecological; and Healthcare Utilization. Abused females scored higher on the healthcare utilization and gastrointestinal/gynecological factors than comparison females. Abused females experiencing multiple perpetrators, violence, longer duration and older age at onset endorsed significantly more gastrointestinal/gynecological problems than did the other abused females and the comparison group. Findings suggest that: (1) sexual abuse affects long-term health outcomes and healthcare utilization; and (2) physical health sequelae of abuse may differentially affect females, depending upon the pattern of abuse characteristics.

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