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Trauma Violence Abuse. 2008 Oct;9(4):250-69. doi: 10.1177/1524838008324419.

Military sexual trauma: a review of prevalence and associated health consequences in veterans.

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Department of Veterans Affairs, North Texas Health Care System, Dallas, USA.


This article reviews the literature documenting the prevalence of military sexual trauma (MST) and its associated mental and physical health consequences. Existing research indicates that prevalence rates of MST vary depending on method of assessment, definition of MST used, and type of sample. Risk factors for MST have been identified as including age, enlisted rank, negative home life, and previous assault history. MST has been associated with increased screening rates of depression and alcohol abuse, in addition to significantly increased odds of meeting criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, MST has been associated with reporting increased number of current physical symptoms, impaired health status, and more chronic health problems in veterans. Available research on health care utilization and MST is also discussed. Researchers are encouraged to utilize standardized definitions of MST, employ standardized assessment methodology, and utilize more male veterans in future research. Policy and practice implications are discussed.

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