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Am J Psychiatry. 1995 Sep;152(9):1336-42.

Sexual abuse in childhood and deliberate self-harm.

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  • 1Department of Psychological Medicine, Otago Medical School, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The authors investigated the association between sexual abuse in childhood and subsequent incidents of deliberate self-harm in women.

METHOD:

A random community sample of women (N = 252) that reported having been sexually abused as children was interviewed and compared to a similarly sized group (N = 225) that did not report abuse. The subgroup of women sexually abused as children who reported subsequent incidents of deliberate self-harm was then contrasted with abused women who did not report self-harm.

RESULTS:

There was a clear statistical association between sexual abuse in childhood and self-harm that was most marked in those subjected to more intrusive and more frequent abuse. Self-harm was also associated with major interpersonal problems in the subject's family of origin and with becoming involved in further abusive relationships as an adult.

CONCLUSIONS:

Sexual abuse in childhood is associated with later incidents of deliberate self-harm and may well be an etiologic factor in its development.

Comment in

PMID:
7653690
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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