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Childhood Sexual Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence Among Women in Methadone Treatment: A Direct or Mediated Relationship?

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Violence Volume: 23 Issue: 7 Dated: October 2008 Pages: 605-617
Malitta Engstrom; Nabila El-Bassel; Hyun Go; Louisa Gilbert
Date Published
October 2008
13 pages
This study examined direct and mediated relationships between childhood sexual abuse and intimate partner violence risk among women in methadone treatment.
Findings show a statistically significant direct relationship between childhood sexual abuse and intimate partner violence in one’s lifetime. Results highlight the particular vulnerability of women in methadone treatment; more than half of the women reported a history of childhood sexual abuse; more than three-quarters experienced partner violence in the last 6 months; more than one-quarter met the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder; and most had limited education, income, and financial independence from their partners. The relationship between childhood sexual abuse and intimate partner violence is mediated by mental health problems among women in methadone treatment, and that financial dependence on a partner increases one’s risk of exposure to intimate partner violence. These findings underscore the critical importance of providing comprehensive interventions with women in methadone treatment settings, including integrated mental health services and referrals for specialized services, such as safe shelters, legal advocacy to obtain orders of protection, and resources for meeting basic needs in order to assist women with achieving physical, psychological, and social safety. Data were collected from 416 women enrolled in methadone treatment in New York City. Tables, references