Sexual harassment and assault experienced by Reservists during military servicer: Prevalence and health correlates

National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA 02130, USA.
The Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development (Impact Factor: 1.43). 01/2008; 45(3):409-19. DOI: 10.1682/JRRD.2007.06.0088
Source: PubMed


The current investigation identified the gender-specific prevalence of sexual harassment and assault experienced during U.S. military service and the negative mental and physical health correlates of these experiences in a sample of former reservists. We surveyed a stratified random sample of 3,946 former reservists about their experiences during military service and their current health, including depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, somatic symptoms, and medical conditions. Prevalence estimates and confidence intervals of sexual harassment and assault were calculated. A series of logistic regressions identified associations with health symptoms and conditions. Both men and women had a substantial prevalence of military sexual harassment and assault. As expected, higher proportions of female reservists reported sexual harassment (60.0% vs 27.2% for males) and sexual assault (13.1% vs 1.6% for males). For both men and women, these experiences were associated with deleterious mental and physical health conditions, with sexual assault demonstrating stronger associations than other types of sexual harassment in most cases. This investigation is the first to document high instances of these experiences among reservists. These data provide further evidence that experiences of sexual harassment and assault during military service have significant implications for the healthcare needs of military veterans.

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    • "Women in the youngest age group (18–24 years of age) were excluded from this analysis owing to small numbers. All final models were adjusted for race/ethnicity (dichotomous ), sexual orientation (nominal), educational attainment (nominal), and military service duration (continuous), selected a priori based on known associations with study exposures and outcomes (Klingensmith et al., 2014; Mattocks et al., 2013; Street et al., 2008). Military service era was also assessed as a potential covariate, defined as the most recent service era during which a woman reported serving in the military (Washington et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Exposure to sexual and physical trauma during military service is associated with adverse mental and physical health outcomes. Little is known about their prevalence and impact in women veterans across age cohorts. Methods: Data from a 2013 national online survey of women veterans was used to examine associations between age and trauma during military service, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, and physical victimization. Analyses were conducted using logistic regression, adjusting for service duration and demographic factors. In secondary analyses, the moderating role of age in the relationship between trauma and self-reported health was examined. Results: The sample included 781 women veterans. Compared with the oldest age group (≥65), all except the youngest age group had consistently higher odds of reporting trauma during military service. These differences were most pronounced in women aged 45 to 54 years (sexual assault odds ratio [OR], 3.81 [95% CI, 2.77-6.71]; sexual harassment, OR, 3.99 [95% CI, 2.25-7.08]; and physical victimization, OR, 5.72 [95% CI, 3.32-9.85]). The association between trauma during military service and self-reported health status also varied by age group, with the strongest negative impact observed among women aged 45 to 54 and 55 to 64. Conclusions: Compared with other age groups, women in midlife were the most likely to report trauma during military service, and these experiences were associated with greater negative impact on their self-reported health. Providers should be aware that trauma during military service may be particularly problematic for the cohort of women currently in midlife, who represent the largest proportion of women who use Department of Veterans Affairs health care.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Women s Health Issues
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    • "There have been some indications that National Guard soldiers may be at increased risk for postdeployment mental health concerns compared to active duty personnel, a disparity thought to be related to greater disruption in the social support networks of National Guard soldiers less prepared for deployment (Griffith & West, 2010). Relatively few published studies speak to the extent to which National Guard troops are exposed to sexual stressors while on deployment, or the degree to which these stressors predict postdeployment functioning (Street et al., 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study used a longitudinal research design to examine the impact of predeployment stressors and deployment-related sexual stressors on self-reported psychiatric symptoms of U.S. National Guard soldiers returning from deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan. Prior to deployment, participants completed measures of depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms, along with an inventory of predeployment stressor experiences. At 3-months postdeployment, participants (468 men, 60 women) again completed self-report measures of psychiatric symptoms, along with an inventory of sexual stressors experienced during deployment. We compared a cross-sectional model of sexual stressors' impact on psychiatric symptoms, in which only postdeployment reports were considered, to a longitudinal model in which we adjusted for participants' predeployment stressors and psychiatric symptoms. No participants reported sexual assault during deployment, though sexual harassment was common. The cross-sectional model suggested that deployment-related sexual stressors were significantly associated with postdeployment depression (R(2) = .11) and posttraumatic stress symptoms (R(2) = .10). Once predeployment factors were taken into consideration, however, sexual stressors were no longer significant. The results did not support the notion of lasting negative impact for low-level sexual stressors (e.g., sexual harassment) during deployment after predeployment stressors are accounted for. Future studies of sexual stressors should consider longitudinal designs. © 2015 International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Journal of Traumatic Stress
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    • "Sexual harassment can lead to break down of physical health. It also increases the risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDS) and other medical injuries (Street et al, 2008 and Dumond, 2000). It may also lead to further victimization, and lodging complaint may further the psychological trauma (Dumond, 2000 and Naik et al, 20100. "

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