Childhood Abuse and Neglect in an Outpatient Clinical Sample: Prevalence and Impact

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The American Journal of Family Therapy, 41:198–211, 2013 Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: 0192-6187 print / 1521-0383 online DOI: 10.1080/01926187.2012.677662 Childhood Abuse and Neglect in an Outpatient Clinical Sample: Prevalence and Impact LIN SHI Specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy, School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA The study examined the prevalence of five types of childhood trauma in a sample of adult clients (n = 497) as well as their longterm relation to trauma symptoms in adulthood. Results showed a high prevalence of abuse and neglect with emotional abuse and neglect being the most common ones. Emotional abuse was the best…show more content…
Sequelae of diagnoses linked to long-term impact of childhood trauma include anxiety, depression, bipolar, borderline, substance abuse, antisocial, and personality, eating, dissociative, affective, somatoform, and sexual disorders (van der Kolk, 2007), and PTSD. Among them PTSD has captured the imagination of trauma research (van der Kolk, 2007; Kirmayer, Lemelson, & Barad, 2007) despite the fact that it is only one of the many consequences of trauma (Kirmayer, Lemelson, & Barad, 2007) and that only a small percentage of victims of severe and profound trauma develop PTSD (van der Kolk, 2007). Furthermore, the study of trauma consequences needs to go beyond DSM diagnoses as impact of childhood trauma can be multifaceted and leave its mark on developmental and relational issues (van der Kolk, 2007). Many symptoms and difficult adjustments such as relational issues can be long-term consequences of early abuse and neglect. To date studies linking early abuse and neglect to difficulties in adulthood beyond specific DSM diagnoses are scarce if not lacking. Moreover, numerous studies fail to 200 L. Shi incorporate the co-presence of multiple types of maltreatment as if diagnosis occurs independently of other trauma symptoms (van der Kolk,

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