To describe psychological distress among abused minority women with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and to identify needs for psychotherapeutic intervention for reduction in abuse, sexual risk behavior and STD.
A controlled randomized trial of the effects of a behavioral intervention on STD recurrence. Eligibility was limited to English speaking Mexican-American and African-American women with a current non-viral STD confirmed by laboratory testing (gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis or trichomonas). All eligible women who could be contacted were recruited from public-health clinics in San Antonio. T-tests, Chi square and correlation were used to analyze the data.
Women with STD and a history of abuse reported more symptoms of current psychological distress than nonabused women. This psychological distress was present in all dimensions of the SCL-90-R, including somatization, obsessive-compulsive, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation and psychoticism. Increased current psychological distress and correlation was found not only for women with reports of sexual abuse but also forms of physical or psychological abuse. The majority of abuse was reportedly experienced during a relationship with a boyfriend or friend/acquaintance.
Implications for Practice
Abused women with STD may benefit from the identification and assessment of abuse history and psychological distress so that appropriate psychological treatment can accompany medical treatment. The prevalence of woman abuse within a population of women with STD mandates the inclusion of violence in STD prevention programs.
© 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc