Dept. of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park 20742, USA.
An emerging body of research on the physical and sexual abuse of seriously mentally ill (SMI) women documents a high incidence and prevalence of victimization within this population. While causal links are not well understood, there is convergent evidence that victimization of SMI women is associated with increased symptom levels, HIV-related risk behaviors, and such comorbid conditions as homelessness and substance abuse. These abuse correlates may influence chronicity, service utilization patterns, and treatment alliance. This article reviews the research literature on the prevalence, symptomatic and behavioral correlates, and treatment of abuse among SMI women, particularly women with schizophrenia. Within each topic, we discuss relevant research findings, limitations of available studies, and key questions that remain unanswered. We also discuss mechanisms that may underlie the relationship between trauma and schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. We conclude by outlining directions for future research in this area.
PMID: 9366004, UI: 98032708