Military Sexual Trauma and Co-occurring Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Depressive Disorders, and Substance Use Disorders among Returning Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans.Womens Health Issues. 2016 Sep-Oct; 26(5):546-54.WH
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive disorders (DD), and substance use disorders (SUD) are prevalent among veterans. A positive military sexual trauma (MST) screen is associated with higher likelihood of each of these disorders. The current study examined the associations between MST, gender, and co-occurring PTSD, DD, and SUD among veterans receiving services at the Department of Veterans Affairs to inform assessment and treatment. We were specifically interested in the interactions between MST and gender on co-occurring disorders.
The sample included 494,822 Department of Veterans Affairs service-seeking veterans (12.5% women) deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan who recently separated from the military and were screened for MST between 2004 and 2013.
Veterans with positive MST screens had higher odds than those with negative screens of individual and co-occurring PTSD, DD, and SUD. The association between positive MST screens and diagnostic outcomes, including PTSD, was stronger for women than for men, and the association between positive MST screens and some diagnostic outcomes, including DD, was stronger for men than for women.
These results highlight the importance of assessing for and recognizing the potential MST and gender interactions in the clinical context among veterans with co-occurring PTSD, DD, and/or SUD.