Gender differences in military sexual trauma and mental health diagnoses among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.Womens Health Issues. 2012 Jan-Feb; 22(1):e61-6.WH
We examined correlates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including military sexual trauma (MST), in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. We also compared mental health comorbidities by gender among veterans with PTSD, with and without MST.
Retrospective data analyses were conducted using Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administrative data from 213,803 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and the subset diagnosed with PTSD from April 1, 2002, to October 1, 2008. We used descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression compared by gender to investigate independent correlates and mental health comorbidities associated with PTSD, with and without MST.
Among women with PTSD, 31% screened positive for MST; 1% of men with PTSD screened positive for MST. Among those with PTSD, veterans with MST had more comorbid mental health diagnoses than those without MST. Women with PTSD and MST were more likely to receive comorbid depression, anxiety, and eating disorder diagnoses, and men were more likely to receive comorbid substance use disorder diagnoses.
MST is associated with an increased prevalence of mental health disorders comorbid with PTSD. Better understanding comorbidity patterns will allow for targeted evaluation and treatment of returning veterans with MST.