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Rape, sex partnership, and substance use consequences in women veterans

Authors

  • Brenda M. Booth,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System
    • Department of Psychiatry, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 W. Markham Slot 755, Little Rock AR 72205
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  • Michelle Mengeling,

    1. Iowa City VA Medical Center and University of Iowa
    Current affiliation:
    1. Iowa City VA Medical Center and Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa
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  • James Torner,

    1. University of Iowa
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa
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  • Anne G. Sadler

    1. Iowa City VA Medical Center
    Current affiliation:
    1. Iowa City VA Medical Center
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  • This research was supported by VA HSR&D grant NRI 04-194-1. Views expressed in this article are those of the authors and not the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Iowa City VA Medical Center, the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences or the University of Iowa.

Abstract

The association of rape history and sexual partnership with alcohol and drug use consequences in women veterans is unknown. Midwestern women veterans (N = 1,004) completed a retrospective telephone interview assessing demographics, rape history, substance abuse and dependence, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One third met lifetime criteria for substance use disorder (SUD), half reported lifetime completed rape, a third childhood rape, one quarter in-military rape, 11% sex with women. Lifetime SUD was higher for women with rape history (64% vs. 44%). Women with women as sex partners had significantly higher rates of all measures of rape, and also lifetime substance use disorder. Postmilitary rape, sex partnership, and current depression were significantly associated with lifetime SUD in multivariate models (odds ratio = 2.3, 3.6, 2.1, respectively). Many women veterans have a high need for comprehensive mental health services.

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