The objective of this study was to examine interrelationships between child maltreatment, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and body mass index (BMI) in young women. We used multinomial logistic regression models to explore the possibility that PTSD statistically mediates or moderates the association between BMI category and self-reported childhood sexual abuse (CSA), physical abuse (CPA), or neglect among 3,699 young women participating in a population-based twin study. Obese women had the highest prevalence of CSA, CPA, neglect, and PTSD (p<. .001 for all). Although all three forms of child maltreatment were significantly, positively associated with overweight and obesity in unadjusted models, only CSA was significantly associated with obesity after adjusting for other forms of maltreatment and covariates (OR. = 2.21, 95% CI: 1.63, 3.00). CSA and neglect, but not CPA, were associated with underweight in unadjusted models; however, after adjusting for other forms of maltreatment and covariates, the associations were no longer statistically significant (OR. = 1.43, 95% CI: 0.90-2.28 and OR. = 2.16, 95% CI: 0.90-5.16 for CSA and neglect, respectively). Further adjustment for PTSD generally resulted in modest attenuation of effects across associations of child maltreatment forms with BMI categories, suggesting that PTSD may, at most, be only a weak partial mediator of these associations. Future longitudinal studies are needed to elucidate the mechanisms linking CSA and obesity and to further evaluate the role of PTSD in associations between child maltreatment and obesity.
- Child maltreatment