Improving assessment for trauma exposure and developing treatments personalized to type of trauma experienced may be important clinical research priorities as female service members’ roles in the military expand, a recent study found. Female veterans who had attended at least 1 appointment at a large Veterans Health Administration medical center completed questionnaires about traumatic military exposures and psychiatric symptoms. A total of 403 veterans responded, with 383 respondents’ data used in analyses. Researchers found:
- Sexual assault was the strongest predictor of both posttraumatic and depressive symptoms.
- Sexual assault, sexual harassment, feeling in danger of being killed, and seeing others killed or injured uniquely predicted symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but only sexual assault and sexual harassment predicted symptoms of depression, even when accounting for several aspects of combat exposure.
Goldstein LA, Dinh J, Donalson R, Hebenstreit CL, Maquen S. Impact of military trauma exposures on posttraumatic stress and depression in female veterans. [Published online ahead of print January 4, 2017]. Psychiatry Res. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2017.01.009.