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A history of abuse and negative life events in patients with a sexually transmitted disease and in a community sample

Pitzner, J., McGarry-Long, J. and Drummond, P.D. (2000) A history of abuse and negative life events in patients with a sexually transmitted disease and in a community sample. Child Abuse & Neglect, 24 (5). pp. 715-731.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0145-2134(00)00129-0
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Abstract

Objective: Our aim was to investigate the psychological impact of abuse and negative life events during childhood, adolescence and adulthood in patients recruited from a sexual health clinic.
Method: Sixty-two patients with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) were matched on age and gender with a community sample. Forty-two patients without an STD formed another control group. Subjects self-reported their trauma histories and current psychological distress.
Results: Compared to controls, categories of abuse and negative life events were more prevalent in STD patients, particularly Physical/Sexual Abuse in adolescence and adulthood. Both within the STD and community samples, a negative life event category that measured illness/death of loved ones during childhood and adolescence predicted current psychological distress. In addition, Control Abuse (a subtype of psychological abuse involving selfish manipulation and deprivation) in childhood and adolescence strongly predicted current psychological distress in STD patients. In general, effects were stronger in females than in males. Psychological/Verbal Abuse did not independently predict current psychological distress, but accompanied other abuse types and possibly amplified their adverse effects.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that multiple types of abuse and negative life events increase the risk of STD infection, perhaps by increasing the likelihood of multiple sexual partners. These patients may ignore social conventions of sexual behaviour because they are bitter about past life experiences. Alternatively, they may persistently search for affection to compensate for a lack of affection in the past.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: Elsevier
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/2105
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