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Am J Psychiatry. 1995 Sep;152(9):1322-8.

Physical and sexual abuse and associated mental disorders among alcoholic inpatients.

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  • 1Research Institute on Addictions, Buffalo, NY 14203, USA.



The purpose of this study was to investigate the adult psychiatric correlates of childhood abuse among alcoholic inpatients.


The 802 patients, who included 321 women, were admitted to one of five New York State alcohol treatment inpatient centers. Each patient was interviewed, and sexual and physical abuse history, DSM-III diagnosis, and other characteristics were recorded.


The overall prevalence of reported childhood abuse was 59% for women and 30% for men. Family history of alcoholism was associated with higher levels of physical and sexual abuse. Gender differences in types of childhood abuse (i.e., sexual abuse only, physical abuse only, dual abuse) were evident; 49% of the women and 12% of the men reported sexual abuse (with or without physical abuse), 33% of the women and 24% of the men reported physical abuse (with or without sexual abuse), and 23% of the women and 5% of the men reported dual abuse. Abuse status, and especially dual abuse, was associated with higher rates of antisocial personality disorder and suicide attempts among women and men, with generalized anxiety disorder among women, and with major depression among men.


The findings highlight the long-term associations between sexual and physical abuse and adult coexisting mental disorders among alcoholic inpatients. Addressing unresolved intrapsychic trauma associated with childhood abuse may increase the efficacy of treatment outcomes and reduce relapse rates among alcoholics.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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