The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5137.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 12:30 PM

Abstract #68855

Childhood sexual abuse and illicit substance use among incarcerated women

Megan R. Hebert, MA1, Jennifer Clarke, MD2, Cynthia Rosengard, PhD3, Bradley, J. Anderson, PhD1, Tess Fabrick Klaristenfeld, MPH1, Kristen M. DaSilva1, and Michael D Stein, MD4. (1) Division of General Internal Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital, 593 Eddy Street, MPB-1, Providence, RI 02903, 401-444-2308,, (2) Division of Internal Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University, 593 Eddy St, MPB1, Providence, RI 02903, (3) Department of Medicine, Brown University School of Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital, DGIM, MPB-1, 593 Eddy St., Providence, RI 02903, (4) Division of General Internal Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University, 593 Dudley Street, MPB-1, Providence, RI 02903

Background: Incarcerated women do not experience the same rate of substance abuse treatment success as their male counterparts. Researchers have suggested that other psychosocial experiences may impact substance treatment outcomes. Objective: To examine the relationship between histories of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), type of perpetrator, and illicit substance use (ISU) patterns among incarcerated women. Methods: Women entering prison in Rhode Island from 6/02 to 1/03 were recruited to participate in an interview that included ISU and CSA (“sexual touching anywhere on the body, touching of genitals, and/or touching of breasts, or made to have oral sex or vaginal or anal intercourse under the age of 16”) topics. Results: 277 women participated, 100 (36.1%) reported CSA; 66% identified family, 56% identified non-kin acquaintance, and 18% identified a stranger as the perpetrator; 35% identified multiple perpetrators. 86% of women with CSA also reported ISU (opiates, cocaine, or benzodiazepines) versus 71% of women without CSA (p<0.01). Cocaine use was reported by 80% versus 65% (p<0.02) and opiate use by 56% versus 42% (p<0.03) of women with and without CSA, respectively. Women with CSA were 2.1 (p<0.03) times more likely to report both heroin and cocaine use compared to the women without CSA. Conclusion: Women prisoners who have been victims of CSA, compared to those who have not, are more likely to report ISU, particularly cocaine. We theorize that ISU among women prisoners may be a reaction to CSA and could affect substance abuse treatment outcomes.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Women's Health, Incarceration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Health of Incarcerated Women

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA