A community-based study of well-being in adults reporting childhood abuse

Child Abuse Negl. 1998 Jul;22(7):681-5. doi: 10.1016/s0145-2134(98)00045-3.


Objective: This study examined well-being and satisfaction with community services in adult survivors of childhood abuse.

Method: A community sample of 109 individuals, 34 reporting childhood abuse (sexual, physical and/or emotional), completed a questionnaire package as part of a study of community well-being. The package included measures of demographic variables, satisfaction with community services, physical well-being, consumption of drugs (including nicotine & alcohol), loneliness, depression, and life stress.

Results: Less than half of those reporting abuse had confided in someone about their experience and only 14.3% had discussed it with a counsellor. The abuse versus no abuse groups did not differ in terms of general living circumstances (e.g., income, marital status, employment status, quality of housing). Despite this, the abuse group reported poorer well-being on several measures.

Conclusions: There are clear limitations to the present data. Nonetheless, the results suggest that those reporting childhood abuse tend to experience poorer well-being than those who do not report abuse, even when the "objective" aspects of their circumstances are similar.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child Abuse / rehabilitation
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / rehabilitation
  • Community Mental Health Services*
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Loneliness
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*