Prevalence of depressive and alcohol abuse symptoms among women VA outpatients who report experiencing sexual assault while in the military

Authors

  • Cheryl S. Hankin,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Health Quality, Outcomes, and Economic Research, Health Services Research and Development Field Program, Bedford VA Medical Center, Bedford, Massachusetts 01730 and Center for Health Care Evaluation, Health Services Research and Development Field Program, Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California 94303
    2. Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118
    • HSR&D, VA Medical Center (152), 3801 Miranda Avenue, Palo Alto, California 94303
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  • Katherine M. Skinner,

    1. Center for Health Quality, Outcomes, and Economic Research, Health Services Research and Development Field Program, Bedford VA Medical Center, Bedford, Massachusetts 01730 and Center for Health Care Evaluation, Health Services Research and Development Field Program, Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California 94303
    2. Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118
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  • Lisa M. Sullivan,

    1. Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118
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  • Donald R. Miller,

    1. Center for Health Quality, Outcomes, and Economic Research, Health Services Research and Development Field Program, Bedford VA Medical Center, Bedford, Massachusetts 01730 and Center for Health Care Evaluation, Health Services Research and Development Field Program, Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California 94303
    2. Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118
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  • Susan Frayne,

    1. Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118
    2. Boston VA Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02130
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  • Tara J. Tripp

    1. DM-STAT, Inc., Everett, Massachusetts
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Abstract

Among a national sample of 3,632 women VA outpatients, we determined self-reported prevalence of sexual assault experienced during military service and compared screening prevalence for current symptoms of depression and alcohol abuse between those who did and did not report this history. Data were obtained by mailed questionnaire. Military-related sexual assault was reported by 23%. Screening prevalence for symptoms of current depression was 3 times higher and for current alcohol abuse was 2 times higher among those who reported experiencing military-related sexual assault. Recent mental health treatment was reported by 50% of those who reported experiencing sexual assault during military service and screened positive for symptoms of depression, and by 40% of those who screened positive for symptoms of alcohol abuse.

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