Journal of Traumatic Stress

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 195–205 | Cite as

The long-term sequelae of sexual abuse: Support for a complex posttraumatic stress disorder

  • Caron Zlotnick
  • Audrey L. Zakriski
  • M. Tracie Shea
  • Ellen Costello
  • Ann Begin
  • Teri Pearlstein
  • Elizabeth Simpson
Regular Articles

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and symptoms of a newly proposed complex posttraumatic stress disorder or disorder of extreme stress not otherwise specified (DESNOS). Compared to 34 women without histories of sexual abuse, 74 survivors of sexual abuse showed increased severity on DESNOS symptoms of somatization, dissociation, hostility, anxiety, alexithymia, social dysfunction, maladaptive schemas, self-destruction, and adult victimization. In addition, a logistic regression found that a complex of symptoms representing DESNOS was significantly related to a history of sexual abuse. Consistent with other studies, the results of this study provide support for the idea that symptoms of DESNOS characterize survivors of sexual abuse.

Key words

childhood sexual abuse complex posttraumatic stress disorder disorder of extreme stress 

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Copyright information

© International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caron Zlotnick
    • 1
  • Audrey L. Zakriski
    • 1
  • M. Tracie Shea
    • 1
  • Ellen Costello
    • 1
  • Ann Begin
    • 1
  • Teri Pearlstein
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Simpson
    • 1
  1. 1.Brown University and Butler HospitalProvidence

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