Home > An examination of childhood trauma in individuals attending an adult mental health service.

Wota, AP and Byrne, C and Murray, I and Ofuafor, T and Nisar, Z and Neuner, F and Hallahan, BP (2014) An examination of childhood trauma in individuals attending an adult mental health service. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 31, pp. 259-270. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/ipm.2014.49.

Childhood sexual abuse has previously been associated with adult mental health difficulties, however, few  studies have evaluated all forms of childhood maltreatment in individuals attending adult mental health services. Consequently, this study investigates the association of five forms of childhood trauma with a range of clinical symptoms and mental health disorders in 136 individuals attending a mental health service in Ireland utilising the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ).

One hundred and thirty-six patients attending the Roscommon Mental Health Services completed the CTQ and a number of additional psychometric instruments evaluating illness severity, impulsivity, disability and the presence of a personality disorder(s) (PD) to ascertain the prevalence of childhood trauma and any potential associations between childhood trauma and a range of demographic and clinical factors.

Seventy-six per cent of individuals reported childhood trauma, with emotional neglect most frequently reported(61%). Individuals who had experienced childhood trauma had higher rates of clinical symptoms, distress and impulsivity. Substance abuse and paranoid, borderline and antisocial PDs most associated with childhood trauma.

This study demonstrates the need to routinely elicit information on all forms of childhood traumatic experiences from patients.

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