University of California, Irvine, USA.
Previous studies of childhood abuse levels among homeless women have typically focused either on single homeless women or female heads of families; almost none have focused specifically on homeless women with severe mental illness. This study explores rates of childhood physical and sexual abuse among 120 homeless women with severe mental illness. Correlates of experiencing childhood abuse are considered, including mental health outcomes and when women first become homeless. The prevalence of childhood abuse in this sample of women was substantially higher than among homeless women in general. The experience of childhood abuse was related to increased suicidality, and resulted in symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder for some women. Women who had suffered abuse were also much more likely to become homeless during childhood and it is suggested that this is an important precursor to homelessness for many homeless women with chronic and severe mental illness.
PMID: 8933709, UI: 97087730