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Examining the Association between Trauma Exposure and Work-Related Outcomes in Women Veterans.

Sienkiewicz ME, Amalathas A, Iverson KM, Smith BN, Mitchell KS. Examining the Association between Trauma Exposure and Work-Related Outcomes in Women Veterans. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2020 Jun 25; 17(12).

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Women veterans have high rates of trauma exposure, including military sexual trauma (MST), which are associated with numerous health and psychosocial consequences. However, associations between trauma history and work-related outcomes are less well-characterized. We examined whether military-related and non-military trauma types were associated with work-related outcomes and whether posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression symptoms mediated these associations. A total of 369 women veterans completed up to two mailed surveys, 12 months apart, assessing trauma exposure, depression and PTSD symptoms, occupational functioning, and employment status (unemployed, out of the workforce, employed). Participants reported high rates of trauma exposure. Nearly half (47.5%) were out of the workforce. Military-related trauma, military sexual assault, and adult sexual assault were associated with worse occupational functioning. Only PTSD symptoms mediated associations between trauma types and occupational functioning. No trauma types were significantly directly associated with employment status; however, PTSD and depression symptoms mediated associations between trauma types and being out of the workforce. Findings can inform screening for military trauma exposures, mental health, and work-related needs among women veterans.

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