Impact of childhood exposure to psychological trauma on the risk of psychiatric disorders and somatic discomfort: single vs. multiple types of psychological trauma

Psychiatry Res. 2014 Nov 30;219(3):443-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2014.06.009. Epub 2014 Jun 12.


We examined whether childhood exposure to multiple types of potentially traumatic events (PTEs) relative to a single type of PTE is associated with a higher prevalence of psychiatric disorders and greater somatic discomfort in Korean adults. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview 2.1 (K-CIDI 2.1) was administered to 6027 subjects aged 18-74 years. Subjects who experienced a traumatic event before the age of 18 years, the childhood trauma exposure group, were compared with controls without childhood exposure to PTEs. In the childhood trauma exposure group, subjects who experienced only a single type of PTE and subjects who experienced two or more types of PTEs were compared further. Childhood exposure to PTEs was linked to a wide range of psychiatric comorbidities, with a higher risk for exposure to multiple types of PTEs than for exposure to a single type of PTE. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and somatoform disorder were significantly associated with exposure to multiple types of PTEs but not with exposure to a single type of PTE. Exposure to multiple types of PTEs was associated with reports of marked fatigue and pain. Future research should examine the psychiatric sequelae associated with various types of childhood PTEs.

Keywords: Mental disorders; Pain; Trauma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Young Adult