A new Canadian study reveals that the psychological and physical effects of childhood sexual abuse are closely tied. The finding could help healthcare professionals develop more effective interventions and ultimately improve mental and physical health outcomes for survivors of abuse in childhood. Authored by Pascale Vezina-Gagnon, a PhD candidate at Universite de Montreal's Department of Psychology, under the supervision of Professor Isabelle Daigneault, the study is published today in Health Psychology. The long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse on survivors' health have only been recognized recently. An initial study of 1,764 children and adolescents, published in 2018, showed that girls who survived substantiated cases of sexual abuse received 2.1 times as many diagnoses of urinary health issues and 1.4 times as many diagnoses of genital health issues than girls in the general population. This finding prompted a subsequent study to determine why and how sexual-abuse survivors suffered from genitourinary problems more often than their peers in the general population. Specifically, the second study aimed to gain a better understanding of this phenomenon by testing the theory that increased psychological distress is partly responsible for the higher incidence of genitourinary issues - such as urinary tract infections, vaginitis and pain during sex or menstruation - among childhood sexual abuse survivors.