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J Trauma Stress. 2015 Aug;28(4):298-306. doi: 10.1002/jts.22028. Epub 2015 Jul 22.

Recent Sexual Trauma and Adverse Health and Occupational Outcomes Among U.S. Service Women.

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Directorate of Mental Health, Naval Medical Center, San Diego, California, USA.
Deployment Health Research Department, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, California, USA.
National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Warfighter Performance Department, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, California, USA.


Sexual trauma is prevalent among military women, but data on potential effects are needed. The association of sexual trauma with health and occupational outcomes was investigated using longitudinal data from the Millennium Cohort Study. Of 13,001 U.S. service women, 1,364 (10.5%) reported recent sexual harassment and 374 (2.9%) recent sexual assault. Women reporting recent sexual harassment or assault were more likely to report poorer mental health: OR = 1.96, 95% CI [1.71, 2.25], and OR = 3.45, 95% CI [2.67, 4.44], respectively. They reported poorer physical health: OR = 1.39, 95% CI [1.20, 1.62], and OR = 1.39, 95% CI [1.04, 1.85], respectively. They reported difficulties in work/activities due to emotional health: OR = 1.80, 95% CI [1.59, 2.04], and OR = 2.70, 95% CI [2.12, 3.44], respectively. They also reported difficulties with physical health: OR = 1.55, 95% CI [1.37, 1.75], and OR = 1.52 95% CI [1.20, 1.91], respectively, after adjustment for demographic, military, health, and prior sexual trauma characteristics. Recent sexual harassment was associated with demotion, OR = 1.47, 95% CI [1.12, 1.93]. Findings demonstrated that sexual trauma represents a potential threat to military operational readiness and draws attention to the importance of prevention strategies and services to reduce the burden of sexual trauma on military victims.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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