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NCJ Number: 229018 Find in a Library
Title: Childhood Sexual Abuse as a Predictor of Birth-Related Posttraumatic Stress and Postpartum Posttraumatic Stress
Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect  Volume:33  Issue:12  Dated:December 2009  Pages:877-887
Author(s): Rachel Lev-Wiesel; Shir Daphna-Tekoah; Mordechai Hallak
Date Published: December 2009
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Israel Science Foundation
Jerusalem, 91040
Grant Number: 420/04
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This Israeli study examined whether childbirth might involve a retraumatization of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), including the exacerbation of postpartum posttraumatic stress (PTS) reactions.
Abstract: The findings indicate that, overall CSA is a traumatic event that has greater negative long-term effects on pregnant women than other traumas. The findings largely confirmed the hypotheses regarding the relationship between CSA and postnatal PTS symptoms, which supports previous findings regarding the long-term impact of CSA (Hobbins, 2004). Women who had experienced CSA had higher levels of PTS symptoms and dissociation before and following childbirth compared to women who reported experiencing other trauma than CSA or a trauma-free history. The current study also confirmed that birth-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was higher among CSA survivors. Still, the findings do not clearly support the hypothesis that childbirth is associated with a retraumatization of CSA. Higher levels of subjective pain and distress during delivery by CSA survivors did not add significantly to postpartum PTS; however, unlike the two comparison groups, the steadily increased levels of intrusion (lowest in the CSA group compared to others during pregnancy) and arousal following childbirth, might indicate that childbirth over time does function as a retraumatization of CSA. Memories of CSA may possibly be triggered by the childbirth event, which will in turn trigger PTSD in a delayed form. The study’s main question, i.e., whether childbirth involves a retraumatization of CSA, should be further examined. Data collection at two additional time points is necessary, i.e., before pregnancy and at 12 months following childbirth. Data were obtained from a convenience sample of 837 Israeli women in mid-pregnancy and at 2 and 6 months following childbirth. Three groups were distinguished in this sample: those who had experienced CSA, women survivors of trauma other than CSA, and women who reported no trauma experiences. 11 tables and 50 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse; Foreign criminal justice research; Israel; Long term health effects of child abuse; Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD); Pregnant women; Psychological victimization effects
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