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J Interpers Violence. 2007 Feb;22(2):250-8.

Current psychopathology in previously assaulted older adults.

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  • 1Medical University of South Carolina, National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


Older adult women age 55+ years (N = 549) were interviewed as part of a population-based epidemiological research study of lifetime experiences with physical and sexual assault and current mental health problems. Although overall rates of psychopathology were low, producing very small cells for comparison, women who reported experiencing physical assault an average of 28 years previously were more likely to present with past year substance abuse, depression, and avoidance and reexperiencing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than those with no previous physical or sexual assault. Women who reported experiencing sexual assault an average of 50 years previously were more likely to present with autonomic arousal and avoidance symptoms of PTSD than those with no prior sexual assault. The aforementioned findings should be considered with caution, however, as sample cell sizes were minimal for all but the PTSD symptom subtypes. Mental health service implications for older adults are discussed.

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