Physical symptoms, somatization, and dissociation in women survivors of childhood sexual assault

Women Health. 1997;25(3):33-45. doi: 10.1300/J013v25n03_03.


This study investigated the relation between history of sexual abuse, somatization, and dissociation in 53 women with a self-reported history of sexual assault in childhood and in 30 women who did not report such a history. Dissociation and reporting of chronic physical symptoms were positively correlated in subjects who had a history of sexual abuse, but this relation did not occur in subjects who reported no history of sexual abuse. The more perpetrators a subject reported, the greater the number of reported chronic physical symptoms. As the age of onset of abuse neared puberty, the more the subjects reported childbirth complications. The relation between somatization and dissociation is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dissociative Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Puberty
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*