Childhood maltreatment and lung function: Findings from the general population.
Cumulative evidence indicates that childhood maltreatment (CM) is linked to self-reported asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, the relation between CM and objective measures of lung function as determined by spirometry has not yet been assessed.Medical histories and spirometric lung function were taken in 1386 adults from the general population. Participants also completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire for the assessment of emotional, physical and sexual abuse as well as emotional and physical neglect.25.3% of the participants reported at least one type of CM. Among them, use of medication for obstructive airway diseases as well as typical signs and symptoms of airflow limitation were significantly more frequent than in the group without exposure to CM. Although participants with CM had numerically lower values for FEV1, FVC and PEF than those without, these differences were non-significant when accounting for relevant covariates like age, sex, height and smoking. Likewise, there were no differences in the FEV1/FVC ratio nor in the frequency of airflow limitation regardless of its definition. No specific type of CM was related to spirometrically determined parameters of lung function.Our findings call into question the association of CM with obstructive lung diseases as indicated by prior research relying on self-reported diagnoses. We consider several explanations for these discrepancies.