The Role of Sexual Assault on the Risk of PTSD among Gulf War Veterans

TitleThe Role of Sexual Assault on the Risk of PTSD among Gulf War Veterans
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsKang, Han, Nancy Dalager, Clare Mahan, and Erick Ishii
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Date Published03/2005

The 1991 Gulf War was the first major military deployment where female troops were integrated into almost every military unit, except for combat ground units. We evaluated the impact of reported sexual trauma during this deployment on the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the war. A nested case-control analysis was conducted using the data collected in a population-based health survey of 30,000 Gulf War era veterans. A total of 1381 Gulf War veterans with current PTSD were compared with 10,060 Gulf veteran controls without PTSD for self-reported in-theater experiences of sexual harassment/assault and combat exposure. Notwithstanding a possibility of recall bias of combat and sexual trauma, for both men and women, sexual trauma as well as combat exposure appear to be strong risk factors for PTSD.

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