A normative sample of 100 patients (59 women and 41 men) from the city of Rochester, Minnesota, and the surrounding rural area who came to the Mayo Clinic for a general medical examination were interviewed in a semistructured format by using a list of questions about childhood life events. Sexual abuse was reported by 16.9% of women and 0% of men, frequencies that are near the lower end of the spectrum of reported values from recent studies. Physical abuse was reported by 5% of the entire group. No association was observed between the two types of abuse. Physical abuse was associated with a significant degree of traumatic life events, but sexual abuse was not. Use of face-to-face interviewing, matched sex and ethnicity of the interviewer, and a high compliance rate substantially increase the probability that the female respondents in the current study were both representative and reliable.
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