One in 9 girls and 53 boys under the age of 18 experienced sexual abuse at the hands of an adult. While childhood sexual abuse is a widespread problem in itself, it is also known to have long-term effects on the victims’ mental health. The objective of this study is to evaluate the long-term psychological and health outcomes of childhood sexual abuse.
This is an umbrella review that included information from PsycINFO, PubMed, Global Health, and CINAHL. The study included 19 meta-analyses with 559 primary studies covering 28 outcomes in 2,089,547 participants. Childhood abuse was associated with 26 of 28 outcomes. The primary outcome of the study was adverse psychosocial and public health events.
All participants had negative psychosocial and physical health conditions. The most common psychiatric associations with childhood abuse were conversion disorder, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, and depression. The systematic reviews of post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and substance misuse met high-quality standards. The quality was low for meta-analyses on anxiety and borderline personality disorder, and moderate for conversion disorder.
The research concluded that childhood abuse was associated with several psychosocial and physical health outcomes. However, systematic reviews suggested that only post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and substance misuse were of high quality.