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The association between adverse childhood experiences and quality of partnership in adult women


Schütze, Ina; Geraedts, Kirsten; Leeners, Brigitte (2020). The association between adverse childhood experiences and quality of partnership in adult women. Child Abuse & Neglect, 108:104653.

Abstract

Background

Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) have a significant effect on psychological and physical child development and represent a risk factor for interpersonal difficulties.
Objective

This study aims to investigate the association between ACE, in particular physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect, and partnership quality during adulthood in women.
Participants and setting

This study is a secondary analysis of a retrospective multi-center study evaluating risk factors and quality of life in women with and without endometriosis, a chronic, disabling gynecological disease. The investigation includes 533 consenting adult women (159 with ACE and 374 women without) recruited from various hospitals in Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
Methods

To evaluate the association between ACE and partnership, a questionnaire including the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire and a validated partnership questionnaire were used.
Results

Altogether, 29.8 % (N = 159) women experienced maltreatment in childhood, 9.7 % (N = 52) of them more than one type. Women who went through ACE showed a lower level of happiness (P = 0.013) and of quality of partnership (P = 0.001) as well as a higher number of conflict areas (P < 0.001). Emotional (P = 0.03; 95 % CI=-1.27,-0.070) and sexual abuse (P = 0.01; 95 % CI=-1.765,-0.197) had the strongest association with reduced partnership quality.
Conclusion

Our study showed a significant association between ACE, in particular sexual and emotional abuse, and reduced partnership quality. As the quality of partnership is a key factor in the quality of life, improvement in social support with a special focus on intimate relationships should be part of the strategy to address the consequences of ACE already during childhood/adolescence.

Abstract

Background

Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) have a significant effect on psychological and physical child development and represent a risk factor for interpersonal difficulties.
Objective

This study aims to investigate the association between ACE, in particular physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect, and partnership quality during adulthood in women.
Participants and setting

This study is a secondary analysis of a retrospective multi-center study evaluating risk factors and quality of life in women with and without endometriosis, a chronic, disabling gynecological disease. The investigation includes 533 consenting adult women (159 with ACE and 374 women without) recruited from various hospitals in Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
Methods

To evaluate the association between ACE and partnership, a questionnaire including the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire and a validated partnership questionnaire were used.
Results

Altogether, 29.8 % (N = 159) women experienced maltreatment in childhood, 9.7 % (N = 52) of them more than one type. Women who went through ACE showed a lower level of happiness (P = 0.013) and of quality of partnership (P = 0.001) as well as a higher number of conflict areas (P < 0.001). Emotional (P = 0.03; 95 % CI=-1.27,-0.070) and sexual abuse (P = 0.01; 95 % CI=-1.765,-0.197) had the strongest association with reduced partnership quality.
Conclusion

Our study showed a significant association between ACE, in particular sexual and emotional abuse, and reduced partnership quality. As the quality of partnership is a key factor in the quality of life, improvement in social support with a special focus on intimate relationships should be part of the strategy to address the consequences of ACE already during childhood/adolescence.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Reproductive Endocrinology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health
Social Sciences & Humanities > Developmental and Educational Psychology
Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health, Developmental and Educational Psychology, Psychiatry and Mental health
Language:English
Date:1 October 2020
Deposited On:11 Feb 2021 14:07
Last Modified:12 Feb 2021 21:00
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0145-2134
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104653
PubMed ID:32771809

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