Military sexual trauma research: a proposed agenda

J Trauma Dissociation. 2011;12(3):324-45. doi: 10.1080/15299732.2011.542609.


Military sexual trauma (MST) is a widespread problem associated with negative psychological and physical health problems. This article presents the current state of MST research and highlights specific areas in need of more focused study. Areas that have produced the greatest body of knowledge include MST prevalence and psychological and physical health correlates. We propose a research agenda based on gaps noted in our research review and empirical and theoretical evidence of issues relevant to but not studied directly in MST populations. We present evidence that MST is qualitatively distinct from other forms of sexual maltreatment in terms of its relational and vocational context as well as the severity of associated psychological distress, examine underexplored gender and sexual issues in MST, and discuss the lack of treatment and prevention studies specific to MST. Specific recommendations are made throughout in an attempt to guide and advance the field.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Patient Dropouts / psychology
  • Patient Dropouts / statistics & numerical data
  • Research
  • Sex Factors
  • Sex Offenses / prevention & control
  • Sex Offenses / psychology*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States
  • Veterans / psychology*