Details of Publication 560 for Project A361:

Coles J, Lee A, Taft A, Mazza D & Loxton D. Childhood sexual abuse and its association with adult physical and mental health: Results from a cross-sectional national cohort study of young Australian women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2015; 30(11): 1929-44

Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) occurs across the world, with a prevalence of 20% internationally. Our aim was to investigate the associations between CSA, CSA plus adult violence experiences, and selected self-reported physical and mental health in a community sample of women. Data from 7,700 women aged 28-33 years from the 1973-1978 cohort who completed Survey 4 of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH) were analyzed. Questions about prior abuse experience such as child sexual abuse, IPV, adult physical and sexual assaults, andphysical and mental health. Women who experienced CSA were 1.4 times more likely to experience bodily pain (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.37, confidence interval [CI] = [1.19, 1.58]), 1.3 times more likely to have poorer general health (AOR = 1.33, CI = [1.15, 1.54]), and 1.4 times more likely to be depressed in the past 3 years (AOR = 1.44, CI = [1.22, 1.71]) compared with those without abuse. Women who experienced both CSA and adult violence were 2.4 to 3.1 times more likely to experience poor general (AOR = 2.35, CI = [1.76, 3.14]) and mental health (AOR = 2.69, CI = [1.98, 3.64]), and suffer from depression (AOR = 2.84, CI = [2.13, 3.78]) and anxiety (AOR = 3.10, CI = [2.12, 4.53]) compared with women with no abuse. This study demonstrates the importance of CSA in pain and poorer long-term mental and physical health. It emphasizes how prior CSA may amplify pain and poorer long-term mental and physical health among women who are again exposed to violence in adulthood.