Enhancing the health care experiences of adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse

K Monahan, C Forgash
Women & Health 2000, 30 (4): 27-41
This article addresses the medical issues presented by women who were sexually abused in childhood and provides a detailed and direct link between the existing literature and its implications for the medical system. A profile of the sexual abuse survivor is given, including child sexual abuse (CSA) characteristics and sequelae that influence the adult female survivor's health. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is outlined as part of a complex interplay of physiological and psychological symptomatology that can compromise the CSA survivor's ability to access health care treatment and forge a positive provider/patient relationship. This article emphasizes that effective treatment with sexual abuse survivors must include interdisciplinary collaboration among health care professionals. Management of the CSA patient, a case vignette illustrating salient themes, and finally, guidelines for the health care practitioner are presented.

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