BACKGROUND: This study compares rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in female veterans who had military sexual trauma (MST) with rates of PTSD in women veterans with all other types of trauma.
METHODS: Subjects were recruited at the Women’s Comprehensive Healthcare Center when attending medical or psychiatric appointments or through a mailing; 230 women agreed and 196 completed the study. They completed questionnaires on health and military history, along with the Stressful Life Events Questionnaire (SLEQ). Those who met DSM-IV PTSD Criterion A completed the PTSD Symptom Scale-Interview (PSS-I) on which PTSD diagnoses were based.
RESULTS: Ninety-two percent reported at least 1 trauma. Forty-one percent had MST, alone or with other trauma, and 90% had other trauma, with or without MST. Overall, 43% of subjects with trauma had PTSD. Those with MST had higher rates of PTSD than those with other trauma. Sixty percent of those with MST had PTSD; 43% of subjects with other traumas (with or without MST) had PTSD. Military sexual trauma and other trauma both significantly predicted PTSD in regression analyses (P=.0001 and .02, respectively) but MST predicted it more strongly. Prior trauma did not contribute to the relationship between MST and PTSD.
DISCUSSION: Findings suggest that MST is common and that it is a trauma especially associated with PTSD.
military sexual trauma PTSD women’s health
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