Sexual & physical abuse in women with fibromyalgia (FM) syndrome

OBJECTIVE. To determine the prevalence of sexual and physical abuse
in female patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), as
compared with rheumatic disease control patients.

Eighty-three female FMS patients and 161 consecutive female
rheumatology (non-FMS) control patients answered a
standardized confidential questionnaire recording previous
sexual and physical abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, and eating
disorders. Demographic information was collected on age,
education, economic status, and cultural group.

Overall abuse was greater in FMS patients than in control
patients (53% versus 42%; P not significant). Significant
differences were observed for lifetime sexual abuse (17%
versus 6%), physical abuse (18% versus 4%), combined physical
and sexual abuse (17% versus 5%), and drug abuse (16% versus
3%). There was a trend toward a higher incidence of childhood
sexual abuse (37% versus 22%) and of eating disorders (10%
versus 3%) in the FMS patient group.

frequency of sexual abuse was identified both in control
patients and in FMS patients. A statistical association was
demonstrated between FMS and the frequency and severity of
sexual abuse, and the frequency of physical abuse and drug
abuse. These results raise the possibility that abuse may have
an effect upon the expression and perpetuation of FMS in adult
life. {MCMStrSt}

Boisset-Pioro MH, Esdaile JM, Fitzcharles MA

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