Trauma among female veterans: A critical review

  • Zinzow H
  • Grubaugh A
  • Monnier J
 et al. 
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Abstract

This article reviews the literature documenting the nature and prevalence of traumatic experiences, trauma-related mental and physical health problems, and service use among female veterans. Existing research indicates that female veterans experience higher rates of trauma exposure in comparison to the general population. Emerging data also suggest that female veterans may be as likely to be exposed to combat as male veterans, although not as directly or as frequently. Female veterans also report high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder, which has been associated with poor psychiatric and physical functioning. Although sexual assault history has been related to increased medical service use, further research is needed to understand relationships between trauma history and patterns of medical and mental health service use. Researchers also are encouraged to employ standardized definitions of trauma and to investigate new areas, such as treatment outcomes and mediators of trauma and health. Policy and practice implications are discussed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Combat
  • Domestic violence
  • Female veterans
  • Gender
  • Mental health
  • PTSD
  • Physical assault
  • Physical health
  • Service use
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Trauma

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Authors

  • Heidi M. Zinzow

  • Anouk L. Grubaugh

  • Jeannine Monnier

  • Samantha Suffoletta-Maierle

  • B. Christopher Frueh

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