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Obstet Gynecol. 1994 Aug;84(2):200-6.

Abuse history and chronic pain in women: II. A multivariate analysis of abuse and psychological morbidity.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City.



To assess the potential role of childhood and adulthood physical and sexual abuse and complaints of chronic pain in accounting for psychiatric symptomatology in adult women.


We assessed sexual abuse, physical abuse, depression, anxiety, and somatization in 64 women with chronic pelvic pain, 42 women with chronic headache, and 46 women without chronic pain complaints. Using multiple regression analyses, we tested a model comprising sociodemographic, chronic pain, childhood sexual abuse and physical abuse, and adulthood sexual abuse and physical abuse variables in the prediction of depression, anxiety and somatization.


This model significantly predicted all three outcomes. However, childhood sexual abuse was not significant in the prediction of any of the outcome variables, whereas childhood physical abuse was significant in the prediction of all three. Further, the adulthood abuse variable set contributed significantly to the prediction of somatization, and the individual variable of adulthood sexual abuse was predictive of anxiety.


The relation observed between childhood sexual abuse and the outcomes of depression, anxiety, and somatization in women may be a function of its association with other forms of abuse, particularly childhood physical abuse. Further investigation is clearly needed of the nature of the relations between the various categories of abuse and psychological morbidity.

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