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Abuse in Childhood and Mental Disorder in Adult Life

NCJ Number
Child Abuse Review Volume: 17 Issue: 2 Dated: March-April 2008 Pages: 133-138
Bozena Spila; Marta Makara; Gustaw Kozak; Anna Urbanska
Date Published
March 2008
6 pages
This study conducted in Poland compared the intensity of childhood abuse experienced by 56 patients being treated for a mental illness, 33 patients being treated for dermatological illnesses, and 35 healthy people.
The findings support the hypothesis that abuse in childhood is a risk factor for mental disorders in adult life. The psychiatric patients in this study experienced much more childhood trauma compared to the control group of healthy adults. Mentally ill patients experienced significantly greater severity of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse compared with the other two groups. These findings suggest the importance of addressing childhood history of abuse in the evaluation and treatment of adults with mental health problems. All participants completed the self-report version of the Early Trauma Inventory (ETI), which was initially developed in 2000 and later adapted for Polish conditions and translated by the authors. The ETI consists of 62 questions divided into four categories: general traumatic experiences, physical violence, emotional violence, and sexual abuse. The intensity of each kind of abuse is estimated for every developmental stage: 0-5 years old, 6-12 years old, and 13-18 years old. The frequency of occurrence of such events is determined, and the perpetrator of the abuse is also identified. 4 tables and 16 references