Title

Physical and Sexual Abuse and Early-Onset Bipolar Disorder in Youths Receiving Outpatient Services: Frequent, but Not Specific

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-2015

Publication Source

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

Volume

43

Issue

3

Inclusive pages

453-63

DOI

10.1007/s10802-014-9924-3

ISBN/ISSN

1573-2835

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine if physical and sexual abuse showed relationships to early-onset bipolar spectrum disorders (BPSD) consistent with findings from adult retrospective data. Participants (N = 829, M = 10.9 years old ± 3.4 SD, 60 % male, 69 % African American, and 18 % with BPSD), primarily from a low socio-economic status, presented to an urban community mental health center and a university research center. Physical abuse was reported in 21 %, sexual abuse in 20 %, and both physical and sexual abuse in 11 % of youths with BPSD. For youths without BPSD, physical abuse was reported in 16 %, sexual abuse in 15 %, and both physical and sexual abuse in 5 % of youths. Among youth with BPSD, physical abuse was significantly associated with a worse global family environment, more severe depressive and manic symptoms, a greater number of sub-threshold manic/hypomanic symptoms, a greater likelihood of suicidality, a greater likelihood of being diagnosed with PTSD, and more self-reports of alcohol or drug use. Among youth with BPSD, sexual abuse was significantly associated with a worse global family environment, more severe manic symptoms, a greater number of sub-threshold manic/hypomanic symptoms, greater mood swings, more frequent episodes, more reports of past hospitalizations, and a greater number of current and past comorbid Axis I diagnoses. These findings suggest that if physical and/or sexual abuse is reported, clinicians should note that abuse appears to be related to increased severity of symptoms, substance use, greater co-morbidity, suicidality, and a worse family environment.

Keywords

Bipolar disorder, Sexual abuse, Physical abuse, Children, Adolescents

Disciplines

Psychology

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