142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Impact of military leadership behaviors on OEF/OIF servicewomen's risk of sexual assault in combat-related and non-deployed settings

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 8:30 AM - 8:50 AM

Anne Sadler, Ph.D. , CADRE Research (151), Iowa City VAHealth Care Center, University of Iowa Department of Psychiatry, Iowa City, IA
Michelle Mengeling, Ph.D. , CADRE Research (151), Iowa City VA Health Care System, Department of Internal Medicine- University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
James Torner, Ph.D. , College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Amy Johnson, Ph.D. , CADRE, Research COIN, Iowa City VA Health Care Center, Iowa City, IA
Brenda M. Booth, PhD , Division of Health Services Research, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
Background:The risk of workplace violence is heightened for women in male-dominated occupations. Currently 14% of US Armed Forces are women, with 24% deployed to combat-related areas.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the impact of military leadership behaviors on risk of sexual assault (SA) in non-deployed and combat-deployed military environments.

Methods: A Mid-Western cohort of 1339 OEF/OIF era servicewomen participated in this cross-sectional study..

Results: The sample included: currently serving (79%) and Veteran (21%) servicewomen; 4% (lower) enlisted, 66% non-commissioned officers (NCOs) (upper enlisted), and 29% commissioned officers (COs); with 51% deployed in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. Participants were asked 20 NCO and CO leadership behaviors that produced 4 behavior factors: 1)leadership environment (e.g., concern with ethical behavior, support seeking mental health care, zero tolerance for sexual harassment), 2)soldier treatment (e.g., embarrassing soldiers in front of other soldiers; showing favoritism); 3)NCO sexual harassment (e.g., sexually demeaning comments) and 4)CO sexual harassment. SA in military was experienced by 16% of participants, of which 39% acknowledged multiple assaults.  Risk factors for SA occurring in non-deployed settings included: Soldier treatment, NCO sexual harassment, and being of NCO rank. Risk factors for SA occurring in a combat-deployed setting included NCO sexual harassment.

Conclusions: Violence toward military women is a serious public health concern. Our findings demonstrate that NCOs may be a vulnerable population and that leadership behaviors have substantial impact on servicewomen’s safety or risk.  Identification of risk factors is vital in development of evidence-based interventions and policies that address military conduct.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Environmental health sciences
Epidemiology
Occupational health and safety
Other professions or practice related to public health
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
List leadership behaviors associated with OEF/OIF military women's risk of sexual assaulted in combat related and non-deployed settings Discuss military rank and risk of sexual assault in military environments.

Keyword(s): Sexual Assault, Risk Factors/Assesment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified because I have conducted research in the area of Veteranís military environments, health risks and health outcomes for approximately the past twenty years and given multiple presentations on such data.
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.