Digital Public Defence: Janne Rueness

MD Janne Rueness at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis Child abuse and physical health complaints in adolescence and young adulthood for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Photo: Randi Eriksrud, NKVTS

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

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Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Senior Lecturer Linda Jonsson, Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Sweden
  • Second opponent: Senior Consultant Unni Mette Stamnes Köpp, Hospital of Southern Norway, Kristiansand
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Emeritus Thor Willy Ruud Hansen, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Emeritus Torleiv Ole Rognum, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Senior Scientist Mia Cathrine Myhre, NKVTS


Child abuse is prevalent and is one of the major public health burdens worldwide. Child abuse victims may suffer from psychological and physical health problems throughout the lifespan. In child abuse victims, psychological trauma and physical health symptoms may develop before or as early as in adolescence and young adulthood.

The aims of this thesis were to investigate physical health complaints in adolescents and young adults who had experienced child abuse and to investigate whether psychological trauma symptoms contributed to this relationship. The thesis used data from two different research studies; a community study of adolescents and young adults from the general Norwegian population, and a clinical study of adolescents who recently had disclosed child abuse during forensic interviews. Participants self-reported their current psychological and physical health problems during interviews or Internet questionnaires. 

Adolescents and young adults who had experienced child abuse had higher levels of physical health complaints compared to their unexposed peers. This relationship was strongest for sexual and emotional abuse victims. Physical health complaints increased with the higher number of child abuse types experienced. Posttraumatic stress reactions mediated the development of physical health complaints in adolescents and young adults who had experienced child abuse. Child abuse victims with the highest burden of psychological trauma symptoms also had the highest levels of physical health complaints.

The findings provide evidence of an early onset of physical health complaints in young child abuse victims. Early identification of child abuse may be beneficial in preventing physical health complaints later in life. Based on the high burden of symptoms revealed, clinical examinations should include a systematic assessment of trauma symptoms and physical health complaints in child abuse victims.

Additional information

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Published Apr. 16, 2021 11:34 AM - Last modified May 3, 2021 1:46 PM