Patients with chronic pelvic pain attending a tertiary referral centre show certain social, developmental and psychological characteristics. Specifically, they appear to have fewer children and to report more paternal overprotection, and a trend towards low maternal care compared to normals. They also show more depression, free-floating anxiety and somatic anxiety than such populations. The levels are similar to those found in other outpatient populations presenting with migraine or irritable bowel syndrome. Hostility levels are greater than those in normal subjects. Overall the present patient population reports the same degree of childhood sexual abuse as do many other female clinic and community sample populations. Sexual abuse is unlikely to be a specific aetiological factor in the development of chronic pelvic pain though it may yet be found to be important in subsets of the population.
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