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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2012 Oct;43(3):366-76. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2012.01.005. Epub 2012 Mar 22.

Childhood sexual abuse characteristics, intimate partner violence exposure, and psychological distress among women in methadone treatment.

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School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Traumatic experiences and their biopsychosocial sequelae present complex challenges in substance use treatment. For women with substance use problems, childhood sexual abuse (CSA), intimate partner violence exposure (IPV), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and overall psychological distress are often co-occurring concerns. To address gaps in knowledge and to strengthen practice regarding these critical issues in substance use treatment, we drew upon cross-sectional and longitudinal data from baseline and 12-month interviews with a random sample of 416 women in methadone treatment to examine relationships between CSA characteristics, particularly the presence of force and involvement of family, IPV, and mental health concerns. Although CSA involving force and family was not associated with IPV as hypothesized, it was associated with increased risk of PTSD and overall psychological distress. The multivariate findings underscore the psychological vulnerabilities associated with CSA involving force and family and suggest that drug use and financial circumstances may be important targets to reduce IPV risk.

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