Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 419–429 | Cite as

Stressful Childhood Experiences and Clinical Outcomes in People with Serious Mental Illness: a Gender Comparison in a Clinical Psychiatric Sample

  • Kristina MuenzenmaierEmail author
  • Andres R. Schneeberger
  • Dorothy M. Castille
  • Joseph Battaglia
  • Azizi A. Seixas
  • Bruce Link


Objective: This study examines stressful childhood experiences (SCE) including childhood abuse and family context in a cohort of 183 people diagnosed with serious mental illness (SMI) and compares gender specific rates of SCE and clinical outcome variables. Methods: 111 men and 72 women with SMI were interviewed regarding SCE and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, dissociative symptoms, risk for self-harm, and adult re-victimization. Results: Both genders endorse high rates of SCE. Cumulative SCE (the sum of seven SCE) are linked to increased levels of all four outcome variables after adjusting for demographic factors. Conclusions: The study addresses the need to assess cumulative SCE in a population with SMI and its effects on clinical outcomes in both genders.


Childhood trauma Posttraumatic stress disorder Serious mental illness Gender Cumulative trauma 


This research was funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health. The authors report no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristina Muenzenmaier
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andres R. Schneeberger
    • 2
  • Dorothy M. Castille
    • 3
  • Joseph Battaglia
    • 1
  • Azizi A. Seixas
    • 4
  • Bruce Link
    • 5
  1. 1.Bronx Psychiatric CenterAlbert Einstein College of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Albert Einstein College of MedicinePsychiatrische Dienste Graubuenden and Department of Psychiatry, University HospitalBaselSwitzerland
  3. 3.New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Fordham University, City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.New York State Psychiatric InstituteColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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