OBJECTIVE: To help clarify the complex association between childhood
abuse and adult psychopathology, the authors examined the relationship
among abuse, Briquet's syndrome (somatization disorder), and dissociative
symptoms. METHOD: Ninety-nine female psychiatric clinic outpatients with a
history of somatic complaints were assessed for Briquet's syndrome,
dissociative symptoms, adult and childhood sexual abuse, childhood physical
abuse, and childhood emotional abuse. RESULTS: Women with high dissociation
scores and many somatic symptoms were more likely to report abuse than were
subjects with low dissociation scores or with few somatic complaints.
CONCLUSIONS: Briquet's syndrome, dissociation, and abuse are significantly
associated. Awareness of this association may have a significant effect on
the treatment of psychiatric patients.