The impact of childhood sexual abuse and adverse childhood experiences on adult health related quality of life. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been shown to be associated with adult physical, psychological, and socioeconomic well-being, indicative of poor health-related quality of life (HRQoL). However, the association between child sexual abuse (CSA) and adult HRQoL, independent of other ACEs, has been less well examined. OBJECTIVES: To examine associations between self-reported CSA, including the nature of CSA, and adult HRQoL. PARTICIPANTS: Data are from 10,624 respondents to CSA and HRQoL questions on the 2015 Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. METHODS: Analyses included chi square and t-tests to compare sociodemographic and HRQoL differences among those with and without history of CSA. Multivariable logistic regressions were used to evaluate associations between nature of CSA and HRQoL, controlling for covariates. RESULTS: The prevalence of self-reported CSA in the sample was 10.3%. Compared to the non-exposed group, individuals exposed to CSA were more likely to report their general health as poor (AOR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.09-2.09), report 14 or more physical unhealthy days (AOR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.06-2.02), 14 or more mental unhealthy days (AOR, 1.86; 95% CI, 1.30-2.64), and 14 or more activity limitation days (AOR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.58-3.10) in a month. HRQoL outcomes were worse for respondents who reported being forced to have sex as a child compared with those who reported being touched or forced to touch someone. CONCLUSIONS: Self-reported CSA is associated with lower HRQoL. The association varies by the nature of reported sexual abuse. Understanding the long-term impacts of CSA can inform adult treatment options and policies to prevent and treat CSA.

published proceedings

  • Child Abuse Negl

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Downing, N. R., Akinlotan, M., & Thornhill, C. W.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Downing, Nancy R||Akinlotan, Marvellous||Thornhill, Carly W

publication date

  • October 2021