Stress coping behaviors and posttraumatic stress symptomology among military personnel with a history of sexual trauma
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Purpose: This study 1) examines the relationship between avoidant (e.g., sleep) and constructive (e.g., problem-solving) stress coping behaviors and PTS symptomology among military personnel with a history of sexual trauma and 2) identifies gender differences therein. Methods: This study utilizes data from the 2011 Health Related Behaviors (HRB) Survey of Active Duty Military Personnel, the largest anonymous, population-based health survey of active duty military personnel (n=39,877). The sample was stratified by service, gender, and pay grade, and participants completed the survey questionnaire online. Results: Among the 9.2% of male and 42.0% of female personnel who reported experiencing sexual trauma, 11.6% and 10.2%, respectively, reported high PTS symptomology levels. After controlling for service, pay grade, race, marital status, and combat exposure, four OLS regression analyses were conducted two for each gender, for avoidant and constructive coping. Avoidant coping was associated with an increased risk of PTS for both males (B = .462, 99%CI[.393,.531]) and females (B = .353, 99%CI[.301,.404]). Conversely, constructive coping served as a protective factor against PTS, with a stronger relationship for females (B = -.353, 99%CI[-.408,-.298]) than males (B = -.193, 99%CI[-.273,-.113]). Conclusions: Avoidant coping strategies increased the likelihood, whereas constructive coping strategies decreased the likelihood, of experiencing PTS. However, the protective effect of constructive coping was greater for females than males. These findings suggest that practitioners working with these populations may want to specifically target avoidant and constructive coping to reduce PTS symptomology and also indicate the need to explore additional gender-specific constructive coping strategies.
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Define the relationship between stress coping strategies and posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptomology among military personnel with a history of sexual trauma.
Identify gender differences in the effects of stress coping strategies on the relationship between sexual trauma and PTS symptomology in a military population.
Discuss how clinicians and public health advocates can emphasize specific stress coping strategies as a means to reduce PTS symptomology among service members with a history of sexual trauma.
Keyword(s): Veterans' Health, Sexual Assault
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an author of the 2011 Health Related Behaviors (HRB) Survey of Active Duty Military Personnel from which this research was conducted. As a research analyst in the Public Health and Survey Research division at ICF International, I have worked on multiple federally funded research projects to address the health and well-being of military service members and their families.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.