Sexual Trauma and Adverse Health and Occupational Outcomes Among Men Serving in the U.S. Military

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Although absolute counts of U.S. service men who experience sexual trauma are comparable to service women, little is known about the impact of sexual trauma on men. The association of recent sexual trauma (last 3 years) with health and occupational outcomes was investigated using longitudinal data (2004-2013) from the Millennium Cohort Study. Of 37,711 service men, 391 (1.0%) reported recent sexual harassment and 76 (0.2%) sexual assault. In multivariable models, sexual harassment or assault, respectively, was associated with poorer mental health: AOR = 1.60, 95% CI [1.22, 2.12], AOR = 4.39, 95% CI [2.40, 8.05]; posttraumatic stress disorder: AOR = 2.50, 95% CI [1.87, 3.33], AOR = 6.63, 95% CI [3.65, 12.06]; depression: AOR = 2.37, 95% CI [1.69, 3.33], AOR = 5.60, 95% CI [2.83, 11.09]; and multiple physical symptoms: AOR = 2.22, 95% CI [1.69, 2.92]; AOR = 3.57, 95% CI [1.98, 6.42], after adjustment for relevant covariates. Sexual harassment was also associated with poorer physical health: AOR = 1.68, 95% CI [1.27, 2.22]. Men who reported sexual trauma were more likely to have left military service: AOR = 1.60, 95% CI [1.14, 2.24], and be disabled/unemployed postservice: AOR = 1.76, 95% CI [1.02, 3.02]. Results suggest that sexual trauma was significantly associated with adverse health and functionality extending to postmilitary life. Findings support the need for developing better prevention strategies and services to reduce the burden of sexual trauma on service men.




Millegan, J., Wang, L., Leardmann, C. A., Miletich, D., & Street, A. E. (2016). Sexual Trauma and Adverse Health and Occupational Outcomes Among Men Serving in the U.S. Military. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 29(2), 132–140.

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