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Pain. 1993 Apr;53(1):105-9.

Relationship of sexual and physical abuse to pain and psychological assessment variables in chronic pelvic pain patients.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina Medical School, Chapel Hill 27599-7160.


This study examines the incidence of sexual and physical abuse and its relationship to selected pain description and psychological variables in a sample of 36 chronic pelvic pain patients. Abuse was measured on a 6-item reliable scale, and abused and non-abused respondents were compared on 4 categories of variables expected to be related to the effects of abuse (pain description, functional impact of pain, other's response to pain, and psychosocial impact of pain). Results indicated that 19 of 36 patients reported prior abuse. Physical abuse was reported less commonly than sexual abuse. No differences between the abused and non-abused groups were noted on demographic, pain description, or the functional interference variables. On the psychological variables, however, the abused group reported less perceived life control, greater punishing responses to pain, and higher levels of somatization and global distress than the non-abused group. These results indicate a high incidence of sexual abuse in patients with chronic pelvic pain and suggest that abused and non-abused patients differ on psychological but not pain description or self-reported functional interference variables.

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