Is childhood physical abuse associated with peptic ulcer disease? Findings from a population-based study

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Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26(16): 3225-3247

This study investigated childhood physical abuse and ulcers in a regionally representative community sample. Age, race and sex were controlled for in addition to five clusters of potentially confounding factors: adverse childhood conditions, adult socioeconomic status, current health behaviors, current stress and marital status, and history of mood/anxiety disorders. Childhood physical abuse is associated with many negative physical and psychological adult health outcomes. Two recent studies demonstrate a potential link between childhood physical abuse and peptic ulcer disease in adulthood. The authors use regional data for the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey. Of the 13,069 respondents with complete data on abuse and ulcers, 7.3% (n = 1,020) report that they had been physically abused as a child by someone close to them and 3.0% (n = 493) report that they had been diagnosed with peptic ulcers by a health professional. The regional response rate is approximately 84%. Findings show that those reporting abuse had more than twice the prevalence of ulcers than did those not reporting abuse (6.6% vs. 2.7%). The fully adjusted odd ratio of peptic ulcers among those who had reported childhood physical abuse is 1.68 (95% CI = 1.22, 2.32). A significant and stable relationship between childhood physical abuse and peptic ulcers is found, even when taking into account five clusters of potentially confounding factors. Prospective studies that apply the biopsychosocial model are likely to be the most effective for identifying the pathways that connect childhood physical abuse and ulcer disease.

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Canadian CW research