To determine the prevalence of five types of trauma and their relationship to borderline personality symptoms and self-destructive behaviors in female subjects recruited from a primary care setting.
Subjects completed a lengthy research booklet.
Primary care, outpatient, health maintenance organization setting.
One hundred fifty-two consecutive women, aged 18 to 45 years, who were scheduled for routine gynecological care by a female family physician.
Main Outcome Measures
Measures included a demographic questionnaire, a trauma questionnaire (ie, sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, physical neglect, and witnessing of violence), the Borderline Personality Scale of the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire^Revised; and the Self-Harm Inventory.
Traumatic experiences were reported by 70.7% of the subjects (25.8%, sexual abuse; 36.4%, physical abuse; 43.7%, emotional abuse; 9.3%, physical neglect; and 43.0%, witnessing of violence). There was a significant correlation between the acknowledged number of abuse categories and borderline personality symptoms (r=.36, P=.01) as well as self-destructive behaviors (r=.43, P=.01). Sexual abuse and witnessing of violence were most associated with borderline personality symptoms; sexual abuse, physical abuse, and witnessing of violence were most associated with self-destructive behaviors.
This study provides further evidence that abuse is a nonspecific but contributory factor to psychopathologic processes, in particular borderline personality symptoms and self-destructive behaviors.
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