Functioning and Psychiatric Symptoms among Military Men and Women Exposed to Sexual Stressors


Murdoch, Maureen, John B. Pryor, Melissa A. Polusny, and Gary D. Gackstetter. 2007. "Functioning and Psychiatric Symptoms among Military Men and Women Exposed to Sexual Stressors." Military Medicine 172 (7): 718-725.

Authors: Maureen Murdoch, John B. Pryor, Melissa A. Polusny, Gary D. Gackstetter


Objective: The goal was to describe military men's and women's functioning and psychiatric symptoms according to their military sexual stressor exposure. 

Method: A cross-sectional survey of 204 Army soldiers and 611 other active duty troops (487 men and 327 women) was performed. 

Results: Forty-five percent of men and 80% of women reported at least one sexual stressor type (i.e., sexual identity challenges, sexual harassment, or sexual assault). After adjustment, subjects reporting more types of sexual stressors had poorer physical, work, role, and social functioning; more-severe post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety symptoms; and more somatic concerns, compared with subjects reporting fewer or no sexual stressor types (all p < 0.004). Interactions by gender were insignificant (all p > 0.11). Within sexual stressor category, men and women reported similar mean adjusted functioning and psychiatric symptoms. 

Conclusions: For both men and women, impaired functioning and more severe psychiatric symptoms were more common among those reporting more types of sexual stressors.

Keywords: sexual assault, mental health, female soldiers, male soldiers, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety

Topics: Combatants, Gender, Women, Men, Health, Mental Health, PTSD, Trauma, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexuality Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2007

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