Correlates of Sexual Revictimization Among Women Veterans Presenting to Primary Care

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Although numerous studies among civilian samples document prior sexual victimization as a robust predictor of sexual revictimization, less is known regarding sexual revictimization among women veterans. Among a sample of women veterans seeking primary care (N = 101), the current study examined associations between sexual assault (via force) at 4 different time points: age 17 and younger (child), age 18 but before military service (adult premilitary), during military service (military), after military service (postmilitary). Across all comparisons, results indicated there are significant associations between forced sexual experiences before, during and after military service. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms were significantly and positively related to the number of time periods an individual experienced sexual victimization via force, as well as the total number of victimization experiences. The experience of sexual assault during military service was a stronger predictor of PTSD symptoms than the experience of sexual assault at any other time period. Among those women who experienced forced sex in the military, symptoms of PTSD were significantly higher in those women who experienced a sexual assault in both childhood and military service. Findings underscore the importance of screening for experiences of sexual trauma throughout the life span within a women’s primary care setting and suggest the need for further attention to prevention of sexual revictimization among women veterans.

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