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Impact of physical and sexual abuse on risk of hospitalisations for physical and mental illnesses: insights from two large prospective cohort studies

Frank, Philipp; Batty, G David; Pentti, Jaana; Jokela, Markus; Ervasti, Jenni; Steptoe, Andrew; Lewis, Glyn; (2024) Impact of physical and sexual abuse on risk of hospitalisations for physical and mental illnesses: insights from two large prospective cohort studies. The Lancet Regional Health - Europe , 40 , Article 100883. 10.1016/j.lanepe.2024.100883. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Physical abuse can lead to severe health consequences that extend beyond immediate harm. We explored the associations of physical abuse experienced during childhood and adulthood with a wide range of adult health conditions requiring hospital treatment. METHODS: We utilised data from a sub-cohort of 157,366 UK Biobank participants (46.4% of the baseline population; age range 45–81; 89,101 women) and repeated analyses in an independent population of 85,929 adults from the Finnish Public Sector (FPS) study (age range 17–78; 68,544 women). Participants in both cohorts reported instances of physical and sexual abuse at study baseline. Follow-up included 77 common health conditions ascertained from linkage data to national hospital and mortality registries. FINDINGS: Mean follow-up duration was 4.6 years (SD 0.14) in UK Biobank and 10.6 years (4.3) in FPS. Physical and sexual abuse was associated with 22 mental and physical health conditions. After multivariable adjustments, participants who experienced abuse during both early and later stages of life had a 2.12- (95% confidence interval 1.39–3.23) to 3.37-fold (1.52–7.45) increased risk of mental and behavioural disorders, a 1.46 (1.20–1.79) to 1.83 (1.05–3.20) times increased risk of metabolic, haematologic, and respiratory diseases, and a 1.24 (1.07–1.45) times higher risk of inflammatory diseases compared with non-exposed participants. The absolute risk difference between these groups was greatest for metabolic and haematologic conditions (rate 381 and risk difference 160 per 100,000 person-years). Frailty, comorbidities, and competing risk of death did not modify these associations, but the possibility of bias or residual confounding cannot be excluded. INTERPRETATION: Repeated exposure to physical and sexual abuse amplifies the risk of hospitalisations from mental disorders and physical diseases spanning diverse organ systems. Addressing this issue may necessitate multifaceted strategies, including shifts in societal norms, legal measures, and increased healthcare provision for affected individuals and their families. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust, UK Medical Research Council, U.S. National Institute on Aging, Academy of Finland.

Type: Article
Title: Impact of physical and sexual abuse on risk of hospitalisations for physical and mental illnesses: insights from two large prospective cohort studies
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.lanepe.2024.100883
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lanepe.2024.100883
Language: English
Additional information: © 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. under a Creative Commons license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Physical abuse, Sexual abuse, Mental disorders, Physical illness, Hospitalisations, Cohort study
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry > Mental Health of Older People
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10189111
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