Life within a limited radius: Investigating activity space in women with a history of child abuse using global positioning system tracking

  • Early experiences of childhood sexual or physical abuse are often associated with functional impairments, reduced well-being and interpersonal problems in adulthood. Prior studies have addressed whether the traumatic experience itself or adult psychopathology is linked to these limitations. To approach this question, individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and healthy individuals with and without a history of child abuse were investigated. We used global positioning system (GPS) tracking to study temporal and spatial limitations in the participants’ real-life activity space over the course of one week. The sample consisted of 228 female participants: 150 women with PTSD and emotional instability with a history of child abuse, 35 mentally healthy women with a history of child abuse (healthy trauma controls, HTC) and 43 mentally healthy women without any traumatic experiences in their past (healthy controls, HC). Both traumatized groups—i.e. the PTSD and the HTC group—had smaller movement radii than the HC group on the weekends, but neither spent significantly less time away from home than HC. Some differences between PTSD and HC in movement radius seem to be related to correlates of PTSD psychopathology, like depression and physical health. Yet group differences between HTC and HC in movement radius remained even when contextual and individual health variables were included in the model, indicating specific effects of traumatic experiences on activity space. Experiences of child abuse could limit activity space later in life, regardless of whether PTSD develops.
Author:Franziska FriedmannORCiDGND, Philip Santangelo, Ulrich Ebner-PriemerORCiDGND, Holger Hill, Andreas B. NeubauerORCiDGND, Sophie Rausch, Regina SteilORCiDGND, Meike Müller-EngelmannORCiDGND, Nikolaus Kleindienst, Martin BohusGND, Thomas FydrichORCiDGND, Kathlen Priebe
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):PLoS one
Place of publication:Lawrence, Kan.
Contributor(s):Kenta Matsumura
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2020
Date of first Publication:2020/05/11
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/05/13
Tag:Behavior; Child abuse; Depression; Global positioning system; Mental health and psychiatry; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Psychological and psychosocial issues; Quality of life
Issue:(5): e0232666
Page Number:20
First Page:1
Last Page:20
Copyright: © 2020 Friedmann et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung (DIPF)
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0