Sexual Assault in Women Veterans: An Examination of PTSD Risk, Health Care Utilization, and Cost of Care

Citation:

Suris, Alina, Lisa Lind, Michael T. Kashner, Patricia D. Borman, and Frederick Petty. 2004. "Sexual Assault in Women Veterans: An Examination of PTSD Risk, Health Care Utilization, and Cost of Care." Psychosomatic Medicine 66 (5): 749-56.

Authors: Alina Suris, Lisa Lind, Michael T. Kashner, Patricia D. Borman, Frederick Petty

Abstract:

Objective: This study examines the differential impact of military, civilian adult, and childhood sexual assault on the likelihood of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It also examines the relationship of military sexual assault (MSA) to service utilization and health care costs among women who access services through Veterans Affairs (VA). 

Methods: A convenience sample of 270 veteran women receiving medical and/or mental health treatment at the VA North Texas Healthcare System participated in the study. Participants were interviewed using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) and categorized into a sexual assault group using the Interview of Sexual Experiences (ISE). A chart review was also conducted to determine the frequency of diagnoses among the women. Data regarding health care utilization was obtained from self-report using the Utilization and Cost Patient Questionnaire (UAC-PQ) and VA administrative records.

Results: Compared with those without a history of sexual assault, women veterans were 9 times more likely to have PTSD if they had a history of MSA, 7 times more likely if they had childhood sexual assault (CSA) histories, and 5 times more likely if they had civilian sexual assault histories. An investigation of medical charts revealed that PTSD is diagnosed more often for women with a history of MSA than CSA. CSA was associated with a significant increase in health care utilization and cost for services, but there was no related increase in use or cost associated with MSA.

Conclusion: Women veterans have differential rates of PTSD due to sexual assault, with higher rates found among those assaulted while on active duty. Although women with MSA are more likely to have PTSD, results suggest that they are receiving fewer health care services. 

Keywords: military sexual assault, female veterans, posttraumatic stress disorder, mental health

Topics: Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, PTSD, Trauma, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women

Year: 2004

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.