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Unformatted text preview: MILITARY MEDICINE, 172, 7:718, 2007 Functioning and Psychiatric Symptoms among Military Men and Women Exposed to Sexual Stressors Guarantor: Maureen Murdoch, MD MPH Contributors: Maureen Murdoch, MD MPH*tl; John Barron Piyor, PhD; Melissa Anderson Polusny, PhD*f||; Gary Dean Gackstetter, PhD MPH DVM# Objective: The goal was to describe military men's and wom- en's functioning and psychiatric sjmiptoms according to their military sexual stressor exposure. Method: A cross-sectional survey of 204 Army soldiers and 611 other active duty troops (487 men and 327 women) was performed. Results: Forty-five percent of men and 80% of women reported at least one sexual stressor type (i.e., sexual identity challenges, sexual harass- ment, or sexual assault). After adjustment, subjects reporting more types of sexual stressors had poorer physical, work, role, and social functioning; more-severe post-traumatic stress dis- order, depression, and anxiety sjonptoms; and more somatic concerns, compared with subjects reporting fewer or no sex- ual stressor types (all p < 0.004). Interactions by gender were insignificant (all p > 0.11). Within sexual stressor category, men and women reported similar mean adjusted functioning and psychiatric symptoms. Conclusions: For both men and women, impaired functioning and more severe psychiatric sjTnptoms were more common among those reporting more types of sexual stressors. Introduction T hat women in the Armed Forces are at high risk for sexual stressors, such as sexual harassment and assault, is almost axiomatic'' However, despite sexual harassment rates of al- most 74% in some studies of male troops,'"'^ sexual stress among men has received little attention. For example, the two most highly rated, widespread, military actions devoted to sex- ual stressor prevention and treatment, namely, the Navy Sexual Assault Victim Intervention Program and ttie Marine Corps Mentors in Violence Prevention program, focus almost entirely on female victims,'^ Possibly, men's experiences receive less attention than wom- en's because men are less likely to rate certain behaviors as threatening or distressful.'""'^ When the perpetrator is female, heterosexual men often appraise as flattering or enjoyable "ap- Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research, Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN 55417. tSecUon of General Internal Medicine, Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Minneap- olis, MN 55417. tDepartment of Internal Medicine, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis, MN 55417. Department of Psychology, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4620. ^Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Min- neapolis, MN 55417....
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