Prevalence of sexual abuse history in a sample of women seeking treatment for premenstrual syndrome

J. M. Golding*, D. L. Taylor, L. Menard, M. J. King

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the prevalence and correlates of sexual abuse history among women seeking treatment for severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Of 77 women participating in a randomized clinical trial of non-pharmacological treatments for severe PMS, 42 were interviewed regarding their sexual abuse history. The interviewed women were a mean of 38 years old, and most were of European ancestry, heterosexual, married, employed and well-educated. At least one attempted or completed sexual abuse event was reported by 95% of the women, with 81% reporting completed penetration against their will and 85% of these sustaining physical threat or harm. Compared to prior studies of sexually abused women in general populations, these women were abused earlier in life, more frequently and by similar types of offenders. Most of the abused women (65%) were estimated to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most abused women (83%) had never disclosed the abuse to a health practitioner. The findings suggest that a history of sexual abuse, particularly in childhood or adolescence, may be extremely common among women seeking treatment for sever PMS, and that substantial undiagnosed PTSD may also be present in this population. Implications for patient screening and treatment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-80
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Sexual abuse
  • Women's Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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