The impact of violence and abuse on women's physical health: Can trauma-informed treatment make a difference?

Authors

  • Inka Weissbecker,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Louisville
    • University of Louisville, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Louisville, KY 40292; or Colleen Clark, Ph. D., Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida, 13301 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, FL 33612. E-mail: cclark@fmhi.usf.edu.
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  • Colleen Clark

    Corresponding author
    1. Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida
    • Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida, 13301 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, FL 33612
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

A history of traumatic experiences has been associated with poor physical health. This study examined associations between trauma and physical health, as well as changes in physical health over time, in women with co-occurring disorders and histories of violence who received either integrated trauma-informed services or usual care. Results revealed that women who had experienced more severe trauma also suffered worse physical health and were more likely to engage in poor health behaviors. Receiving behavioral health care services was associated with improved physical health and health behaviors. Predictors of physical health improvements included reduced interpersonal abuse, reduced severity of posttraumatic symptoms, improved health behaviors, and adequate access to medical care. Implications for primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention are discussed.

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