Female US veterans suffer sexual trauma
The study, based on data from 100,000 veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom who used VA health care, found that more than one in seven women reported having experienced "military sexual trauma".
The study, covering a six year period, also found that 0.7 percent of men returning from duty reported military sexual trauma.
Individuals, both female and male, who experienced sexual trauma in the service had a greater probability of being diagnosed with a mental illness upon return than those who did not report such trauma, researchers found.
The trauma, ranging from repeated sexual advances and intimidation to rape, can lead to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and a propensity for drug abuse, according to the study.
"These data highlight the importance of the VA's universal screening policy as well as early intervention among veterans who have experienced sexual trauma," said VA researcher Joanne Pavao of the study, which was presented at the American Public Health Association's 136th Annual Meeting & Exposition in San Diego.
VA policy "requires that all male and female veterans are screened for experiences of military sexual trauma and that free treatment for MST-related conditions is provided at all VA health care facilities," Pavao said
From Yahoo News
The cross-sectional study, presented at the American Public Health Association’s 136th Annual Meeting & Exposition in San Diego, examined health care screening data of over 100,000 veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) who utilized medical care at any Veterans Health Administration facility during a six-year period.
Along with the more than one in seven women, 0.7 percent of males also reported having experienced military sexual trauma (MST). Both males and females reporting MST were more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition than patients who did not report MST.
Session 4365.0 - Burden of mental illness associated with military sexual trauma among veterans deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan
Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 – 4:45 PM
Researchers: Rachel Kimerling, PhD; Amy E. Street, PhD; Joanne Pavao, MPH; Kristian Gima, BA; Mark W. Smith, PhD; Ruth Cronkite, PhD and Susan M. Frayne, MD, MPH
Information for media:
The APHA Annual Meeting Press Office will be located in Room 14A of the San Diego Convention Center. The full Annual Meeting program and abstracts are available online at http://www.apha.org/meetings/sessions/. Final programs with session locations, along with daily highlights and other press materials, will be available on site at the APHA Press Office. Please visit our Web site for additional Annual Meeting press information.