Dissociation, childhood interpersonal trauma, and family functioning in patients with somatization disorder.
The aim of the study was to examine the relationship between the levels of somatization, depression as well as alexithymia, and MUS in women going through violence experience in three contexts (childhood, adulthood, and both childhood and adulthood). The study was performed on 180 patients attending the Internal Medicine Department of Istanbul University Medical Faculty. The data of women with MUS (n = 50) were compared those of women with acute physical conditions (n = 46) and chronic physical conditions (n = 84). Semi-structured Interview Form, Childhood Abuse and Neglect Inventory, Brief Symptom Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, and the Toronto Alexithymia Scale were administered. The levels of somatization and depression were found to be higher in women who were exposed to emotional abuse (EA) and physical abuse (PA) in adulthood in the MUS group compared with those of the women exposed to EA and PA in adulthood in the other groups. The levels of somatization, depression, and alexithymia in the MUS group exposed to childhood emotional abuse (CEA) were also higher than those in the controls exposed to CEA. The levels of somatization and alexithymia in the MUS group who were exposed to childhood physical abuse (CPA) were higher than those in the controls exposed to CPA. The levels of somatization and depression in the MUS group who were exposed to violence both in childhood and in adulthood were higher than those in the controls who experienced violence both in childhood and in adulthood. Most women exposed to domestic violence present to health care institutions with various physical and psychological symptoms in Turkey. So, it is important that health caregivers also ask questions about experiences of violence and psychological symptoms in women presenting with medically unexplained symptoms.