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Am J Mens Health. 2008 Sep;2(3):254-9. doi: 10.1177/1557988307313819. Epub 2008 Feb 12.

Gender and time differences in the associations between sexual violence victimization, health outcomes, and risk behaviors.

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  • 1Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA.


An estimated 1 out of 6 women and 1 out of 33 men has been a victim of sexual assault at some point in their lifetime. The objective of this study was to quantify the associations between sexual assault and negative health outcomes among males and females who reported being sexually assaulted in the past 12 months or at some point before the past 12 months. Data were obtained from the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System core and sexual violence modules. A series of logistic regression models, including all respondents and stratified by gender, was used to identify differences associated with victimization. Among women, victimization before the past 12 months was significantly associated with poor health status, poor mental health, lower life satisfaction, activity limitations, smoking, and binge drinking. Women who reported victimization in the past 12 months were also significantly more likely to report poor mental health, lower life satisfaction, activity limitations, and binge drinking. Among males, significant associations were found with smoking (past 12 months), poor life satisfaction (before the past 12 months) and activity limitations (before the past 12 months). Results of this study suggest that poor mental and physical health associated with victimization are more prevalent in women and that these relationships persist over time. The broad range of outcomes associated with victimization suggests that further research is needed to better understand the consequences associated with sexual violence across the lifespan.

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