The Co-Occurrence of Asexuality and Self-Reported Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Diagnosis and Sexual Trauma Within the Past 12 Months Among U.S. College Students

Abstract

An increasing number of individuals identify as asexual. It is important to understand the relationship between a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder or a history of sexual trauma co-occurs with asexual identity. We aimed to assess whether identification as asexual was associated with greater likelihood for self-reported PTSD diagnosis and history of sexual trauma within the past 12 months. Secondary data analysis was undertaken of a cross-sectional survey of 33,385 U.S. college students (12,148 male, 21,237 female), including 228 self-identified asexual individuals (31 male, 197 female), who completed the 2015–2016 Healthy Minds Study. Measures included assessment of self-report of prior professional diagnosis of PTSD and self-report of prior sexual trauma in the past year. Among non-asexual participants, 1.9% self-reported a diagnosis of PTSD and 2.4% reported a history of sexual trauma in the past 12 months. Among the group identified as asexual, 6.6% self-reported a diagnosis of PTSD and 3.5% reported a history of sexual assault in the past 12 months. Individuals who identified as asexual were more likely to report a diagnosis of PTSD (OR 4.44; 95% CI 2.32, 8.50) and sexual trauma within the past 12 months (OR 2.52; 95% CI 1.20, 5.27), compared to non-asexual individuals. These differences persisted after including sex of the participants in the model, and the interaction between asexual identification and sex was not significant in either case. Asexual identity was associated with greater likelihood of reported PTSD diagnosis and reported sexual trauma within the past 12 months. Implications for future research on asexuality are discussed.

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Correspondence to Mike C. Parent.

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Parent, M.C., Ferriter, K.P. The Co-Occurrence of Asexuality and Self-Reported Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Diagnosis and Sexual Trauma Within the Past 12 Months Among U.S. College Students. Arch Sex Behav 47, 1277–1282 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1171-1

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Keywords

  • Asexuality
  • Sexual trauma
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder