Background: This study examines the prevalence, correlates, and psychiatric disorders of adults with history of child sexual abuse (CSA).
Methods: Data were derived from a large national sample of the US population. More than 34000 adults 18 years and older residing in households were interviewed face-to-face in a survey conducted during the 2004-2005 period. Diagnoses were based on the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, version. Weighted means, frequencies, and odds ratios of sociodemographic correlates and prevalence of psychiatric disorders were computed. Logistic regression models were used to examine the strength of associations between CSA and psychiatric disorders, adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics, risk factors, and other Axis I psychiatric disorders.
Results: The prevalence of CSA was 10.14% (24.8% in men and 75.2% in women). Child physical abuse, maltreatment, and neglect were more prevalent among individuals with CSA than among those without it. Adults with CSA history had significantly higher rates of any Axis I disorder and suicide attempts. The frequency, type, and number of CSA were significantly correlated with psychopathology.
Conclusions: The high correlation rates of CSA with psychopathology and increased risk for suicide attempts in adulthood suggest the need for a systematic assessment of psychiatric disorders and suicide risk in these individuals. The risk factors for CSA emphasize the need for health care initiatives geared toward increasing recognition and development of treatment approaches for the emotional sequelae CSA as well as early preventive approaches.
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