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Clin Psychol Rev. 2009 Dec;29(8):685-94. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2009.08.007. Epub 2009 Aug 24.

A new generation of women veterans: stressors faced by women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Author information

1
National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA, United States. amy.street@va.gov

Abstract

The extent of female service members' involvement in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), in terms of both the number of women deployed and the scope of their involvement, is unprecedented. While many of the mental health readjustment issues of female service members are likely to mirror those of the majority male Veteran population, this newest generation of women Veterans may also face unique threats to their mental health. The goal of this review it to highlight emerging issues relevant to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan by reviewing the existing literature on gender-relevant issues among this cohort, as well as raising theoretically important issues that are worthy of further empirical investigation. Topics addressed include gender differences in combat experiences and in PTSD following combat exposure; sexual assault, sexual harassment and other interpersonal stressors experienced during deployment; women Veterans' experiences of premilitary trauma exposure; and unique stressors faced by women Veterans during the homecoming readjustment period. Given that most models of the impact of war zone deployment on PTSD are predicated on the experiences of male service members, women's expanding role in combat operations presents both an opportunity and a challenge to adapt these models to more effectively capture the experiences of female service members.

PMID:
19766368
DOI:
10.1016/j.cpr.2009.08.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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