Medical and psychiatric symptoms in female gastroenterology clinic patients with histories of sexual victimization

Edward A. Walker, Ann N. Gelfand, Martin D. Gelfand, Mary P Koss, Wayne J. Katon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Several recent retrospective reports have associated prior sexual victimization and long-term medical sequelae such as increased medical clinic utilization and reports of physical symptoms. However, methodological constraints have limited the generalizability of these findings. Our study was designed using structured interviews with a sequential sample of 89 female gastroenterology clinic patients, who were classified by severity of sexual trauma and studied for differences in lifetime psychiatric diagnoses, physical abuse, and medically unexplained symptom patterns. Compared with the 46 women who had experienced less severe or no prior sexual trauma, the 43 patients with severe victimization had significantly higher lifetime and current rates of several selected psychiatric disorders as well as significantly higher mean numbers of lifetime psychiatric disorders, medically unexplained physical and anxiety symptoms, greater harm avoidance and dissociation scores, and increased functional disability. A logistic regression showed that the main predictors of a history of severe sexual abuse were the number of medically unexplained symptoms, adult physical abuse, and lifetime dysthymic disorder. We concluded that women with prior severe sexual trauma episodes may express medically unexplained physical symptoms as part of the long-term adaptation to their victimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1995

Fingerprint

Crime Victims
Gastroenterology
Psychiatry
Wounds and Injuries
Dysthymic Disorder
Dissociative Disorders
Sex Offenses
Mental Disorders
Anxiety
Logistic Models
Interviews
Medically Unexplained Symptoms
Physical Abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Medical and psychiatric symptoms in female gastroenterology clinic patients with histories of sexual victimization. / Walker, Edward A.; Gelfand, Ann N.; Gelfand, Martin D.; Koss, Mary P; Katon, Wayne J.

In: General Hospital Psychiatry, Vol. 17, No. 2, 1995, p. 85-92.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Walker, Edward A. ; Gelfand, Ann N. ; Gelfand, Martin D. ; Koss, Mary P ; Katon, Wayne J. / Medical and psychiatric symptoms in female gastroenterology clinic patients with histories of sexual victimization. In: General Hospital Psychiatry. 1995 ; Vol. 17, No. 2. pp. 85-92.
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