The Prevalence of Childhood Abuse and Adverse Outcomes Among Involuntarily Hospitalized Persons With Severe Mental Illness

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Title: The Prevalence of Childhood Abuse and Adverse Outcomes Among Involuntarily Hospitalized Persons With Severe Mental Illness
Author: Jicha, Karl Armstrong
Advisors: Dr. Virginia Aldige Hiday, Committee Chair
Abstract: Objective: This paper examines the prevalence of childhood abuse and adverse outcomes among 188 involuntarily hospitalized patients with severe mental illness in the public mental health system. The sample is a high-risk group for both childhood abuse and adverse outcomes as a result of their disadvantaged status and because hospitalization was based on their alleged dangerousness to others or themselves. Methods: Extensive interviews and clinical records provided data on childhood abuse, substance problems, homelessness, adult criminal victimization, and clinical and sociodemographic characteristics. Results: Childhood abuse was highly prevalent among this sample. More than half (58.0%) reported a history of childhood abuse (36.2% were sexually abused, 45.7% were physically abused, and 23.9% experienced both forms of abuse). In bivariate analyses, childhood physical abuse and the experience of both physical and sexual abuse were significantly associated with the adverse outcomes of homelessness and adult criminal victimization; but only the measure of combined abuse was significantly associated with substance abuse problems. In multivariate analyses, examining each isolated form of abuse and the co-occurrence of both and adding sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, only a history of experiencing both physical and sexual abuse was significantly associated with an adverse outcome. The analysis of each type of abuse on its own revealed that childhood physical abuse was not a significant predictor of either homelessness or adult victimization, rather, these significant relationships were the result of the co-occurrence of both childhood physical and sexual abuse. Conclusion: Prevalence of childhood abuse is high in this sample as is the rate of adverse outcomes in adulthood. Subjects who reported histories of both childhood sexual and physical abuse were more likely to experience adverse adult outcomes than those reporting childhood physical or sexual abuse on their own or no abuse.
Date: 2003-11-18
Degree: MS
Discipline: Sociology
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1939


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