The gynecological care experience of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse: A preliminary investigation

Jennifer S. Robohm, Margaret Buttenheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The gynecological care experiences of 44 adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and 30 non-abused controls were investigated and compared. On a self-administered survey, survivors rated the gynecological care experience more negatively than the controls, experienced more intensely negative feelings, and reported being more uncomfortable during almost every stage of the gynecological examination than did the controls. Survivors also reported more trauma-like responses during the gynecological examination, including overwhelming emotions, intrusive or unwanted thoughts, memories, body memories, and feelings of detachment from their bodies. Eighty-two percent of the survivors in the sample had never been asked about a history of sexual abuse or assault by a gynecological care provider, despite clear evidence from this study that such information would be relevant to their care. Implications of the study's findings for gynecological care practice and training are explored, and questions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-75
Number of pages17
JournalWomen and Health
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1996

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