Lege Artis Medicinae

[“Boys as victims”, or the potential public health consequences of childhood physical abuse]

GYŐRFFY Zsuzsa, IMOLA Sándor, CSOBOTH Csilla, KOPP Mária

NOVEMBER 20, 2011

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2011;21(11)

[BACKGROUND - Whereas the scientific literature regarding physical abuse primarily focuses on female victims, few studies have been performed on the childhood abuse of men. The aim of our study was to examine the potential effects of childhood physical abuse of men on adult mental health status. METHODS - Data of 4675 male participants of the Hungarostudy nation-wide representative survey were analyzed. RESULTS - Altogether almost 13% of our study group reported physical abuse by a parent or other significant person. Compared with men who did not report abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts and attempts were significantly more common among abused men. Smoking, alcohol- and drugabuse, anxiety disorders and sleeping disorders also had a higher occurence. Moreover, we established that abused men had a significantly greater risk of marital distress and were more likely to have fewer children. Interpretation of the results in a multivariate model indicated that physical abuse is a determinate and independent risk factor of depression, suicidal thoughts and attempts, smoking habits and alcohol abuse. CONCLUSIONS - Our results underline that childhood physical abuse can have a significant effect on numerous mental disorders and maladaptive behaviours in adulthood. However, the deeper understanding of the relationship between physical abuse and mental disorders necessitates further studies.]

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