Childhood sexual assault, quality of life, and psychiatric comorbidity in veterans with military and civilian sexual trauma

Rush C. Williams, Ryan Holliday, Nicholas Holder, Alina Surís

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Veterans with military sexual trauma (MST) are at risk for a variety of psychiatric conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Survivors of MST are also likely to experience diminished quality of life (QoL). Individuals with higher lifetime incidence of sexual trauma may also be at increased risk for poorer outcomes in QoL and psychiatric symptomatology. The differences in psychological sequelae among those who have experienced sexual trauma as children, and those whose sexual trauma exposure is limited to adulthood are relatively understudied. The majority of sexual trauma literature has focused primarily on civilian trauma, and comparatively few studies have specifically examined psychosocial sequelae (e.g., QoL) in veterans with MST. This study examined how childhood sexual abuse (CSA) affects overall QoL as well as severity of PTSD and depressive symptoms. Veterans who reported CSA had significantly greater depression symptom severity than veterans who did not. No significant differences in PTSD symptom severity or QoL were found between veterans who did and did not report CSA. Results highlight the need for further examination of the relationship between CSA and depression in veterans with MST-related PTSD who also report CSA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalMilitary Psychology
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

Keywords

  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Depression
  • Military sexual trauma
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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