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Gender Differences in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Help Seeking in the U.S. Army.

Publication Status: Published

Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)

Sponsoring Office: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Congressionally Mandated: No

Funding Source: Undetermined

Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016

Principle Investigator Status: Academia

Primary DoD Data Source: Department of Defense Health Related Behaviors Survey

Secondary DoD Data Source:

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
Inconsistent findings between studies of gender differences in mental health outcomes in military samples have left open questions of differential prevalence in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among all United States Army soldiers and in differential psychosocial and comorbid risk and protective factor profiles and their association with receipt of treatment.

METHODS:
This study assesses the prevalence and risk factors of screening positive for PTSD for men and women based on two large, population-based Army samples obtained as part of the 2005 and 2008 U.S. Department of Defense Surveys of Health Related Behaviors among Active Duty Military Personnel.

RESULTS:
The study showed that overall rates of PTSD, as measured by several cutoffs of the PTSD Checklist, are similar between active duty men and women, with rates increasing in both men and women between the two study time points. Depression and problem alcohol use were strongly associated with a positive PTSD screen in both genders, and combat exposure was significantly associated with a positive PTSD screen in men. Overall, active duty men and women who met criteria for PTSD were equally likely to receive mental health counseling or treatment, though gender differences in treatment receipt varied by age, race, social support (presence of spouse at duty station), history of sexual abuse, illness, depression, alcohol use, and combat exposure.

CONCLUSIONS:
The study demonstrates that the prevalence of PTSD as well as the overall utilization of mental health services is similar for active duty men compared with women. However, there are significant gender differences in predictors of positive PTSD screens and receipt of PTSD treatment.

Citation:

Hourani L, Williams J, Bray RM, Wilk JE, Hoge CW. Gender Differences in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Help Seeking in the U.S. Army. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2016 Jan;25(1):22-31.

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