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Adult Adjustment of Survivors of Institutional Child Abuse in Ireland

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect: Volume: 34 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2010 Pages: 477-489
Alan Carr; Barbara Dooley; Mark Fitzpatrick; Edel Flanagan; Roisin Flanagan-Howard; Kevin Tierney; Megan White; Margaret Daly; Jonathan Egan
Date Published
July 2010
13 pages
The purpose of this study was to document the adult adjustment of survivors of childhood institutional abuse.
Two hundred and forty-seven adult survivors of institutional abuse with a mean age of 60 were interviewed with a protocol that included the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, modules from the Structured Clinical Interview for Axis I Disorders of DSM IV and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM IV Personality Disorders, the Trauma Symptom Inventory, and the Experiences in Close Relationships Inventory. Results show that the prevalence of psychological disorders among adult survivors of institutional abuse was over 80 percent and far higher than in the normal population, with anxiety, mood and substance use disorders being the most prevalent diagnoses. Survivors also had high rates of trauma symptoms and insecure adult attachment styles, and these were higher for those who had experienced both institutional and intrafamilial abuse. There was an association between the experience of institutional abuse in childhood and the prevalence of adult mental health problems, particularly anxiety, mood and substance use disorders. Policies, practices and procedures should be regularly reviewed and revised to maximize protection of young people in institutional care. Evidence-based psychological treatment should be made available to adult survivors of institutional abuse. Figure, tables, and references (Published Abstract)