Abused Girls More Likely to Misuse Alcohol as Adults

Women who were physically or sexually abused as children are more likely to abuse alcohol or be alcohol-dependent as adults, according to a recent study.

HealthDay News reported Nov. 22 that researchers used a sample of 3,680 women taken from the 2005 U.S. National Alcohol Survey. They correlated eight measures for past-year and lifetime alcohol use with the women's reports of physical and sexual abuse in childhood. 

“The take-home message is across a range of alcohol consumption patterns, child abuse is consistently associated with alcohol abuse,” said lead researcher, E. Anne Lown, DrPH, of the Alcohol Research Group. “All of my measures found that association.”

Investigators controlled for a variety of factors, including education, ethnicity, and problem drinking by the subjects' parents.   

Lown and her co-authors recommended consistent screening and treatment for underlying abuse. Lown said, “We need to screen for abuse in all settings — not just screen for but have interventions in place that will address the long-term consequences of child abuse. Without screening, the problem will not be recognized.”

The study appeared online in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research on Nov. 17, and will appear in the journal's print edition in February 2011.

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