Pain and posttraumatic stress: Associations among women veterans with a history of military sexual trauma

Psychol Trauma. 2023 Nov;15(8):1307-1314. doi: 10.1037/tra0001272. Epub 2022 May 12.


Objective: Chronic pain and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are two highly prevaxlent and comorbid conditions common within veteran populations. Notably, those with comorbid pain and PTSD tend to have more severe presentations and poorer quality of life than those with either disorder alone. Despite this well-established relationship, limited research has examined the association between pain and PTSD symptom severity among women veterans with a history of military sexual trauma (MST).

Method: The current study included 107 women veterans presenting for psychological services to an MST specialty clinic at a large southeastern Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital in the United States.

Results: Findings indicated a significant relationship between pain and overall PTSD symptom severity, as well as the intrusions and arousal and reactivity symptom clusters. Contrary to prediction, there was not a significant relationship between pain interference and PTSD symptom or cluster severity.

Conclusion: Results highlight the importance of inquiring about pain when working with women veterans with a history of MST. Future research aimed at disentangling the casual relationship between pain and PTSD symptoms is crucial to enhance our understanding of these constructs. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Military Sexual Trauma
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / epidemiology
  • Veterans*