Child Abuse and Chronic Pain in a Community Survey of Women
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This study examined the relationship between a self-reported history of child physical and sexual abuse and chronic pain among women (N = 3,381) in a provincewide community sample. Chronic pain was significantly associated with physical abuse, education, and age of the respondents and was unrelated to child sexual abuse alone or in combination with physical abuse, mental disorder (anxiety, depression, or substance abuse), or low income. Number of health problems and mental health disorders did not mediate the relationship between physical abuse and chronic pain. Despite considerable evidence from the clinical literature linking exposure to child maltreatment and chronic pain in adulthood, this may well be the first population-based study to investigate this relationship for child physical and sexual abuse independently. The significant association between childhood history of physical abuse and pain in adulthood calls for a greater awareness of the potential for chronic pain problems associated with this type of maltreatment. Further research is needed to understand the mechanism for this complex relationship.
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