Substance abuse and sexual trauma in a female veteran population

J Subst Abuse Treat. 1999 Mar;16(2):123-7. doi: 10.1016/s0740-5472(98)00014-2.


An increasing number of researchers have explored connections between substance abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and sexual assault histories in civilian women. Despite literature suggesting the prevalence of substance abuse and sexual assault for female veterans, few studies have investigated these variables in a female veteran population. Thus, this paper was designed to provide preliminary information about this group of women. The results of this preliminary study suggest a high incidence of PTSD related to sexual trauma in a substance-abusing population of female veterans and a high incidence of substance abuse among female veterans who presented requesting help for sexual trauma. Suggestions for future study include examination of comparison samples of female veterans with and without PTSD and substance abuse across a variety of dimensions, including psychiatric symptoms, substance use, treatment utilization, and impact of treatment. Implications for assessment are highlighted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Psychiatry
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors
  • Sex Offenses / psychology
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Harassment / psychology
  • Sexual Harassment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*