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Experiencing Sexual Assault and/or Stalking-Related Behavior is Associated with Binge Drinking and Substance Use Consequences in Deployed U.S. Servicewomen.
Cucciare MA, Mengeling MA, Han X, Kennedy K, Torner J, Sadler AG. Experiencing Sexual Assault and/or Stalking-Related Behavior is Associated with Binge Drinking and Substance Use Consequences in Deployed U.S. Servicewomen. Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. 2022 Jan 3; 32(4):402-410.
Being deployed is a risk factor for poor postdeployment mental health outcomes in U.S. servicewomen, including harmful drinking. However, to our knowledge, no studies have examined deployment-related sexual assault and exposure to stalking-related behavior in relation to binge drinking and substance use consequences in this population.
A community sample of post-9/11 servicewomen from the Midwest, including both veterans and those actively serving (N = 991), completed computer-assisted telephone interviews after deployment. Logistic regression models examined associations between deployment-related sexual assault (attempted or completed) and stalking-related behavior (e.g., being left unwanted things, having property vandalized), and the likelihood of reporting binge drinking and substance use consequences after controlling for covariates.
U.S. servicewomen experiencing deployment-related sexual assault and/or stalking-related behavior were more likely to report binge drinking in the past 4 weeks and at least one negative consequence of substance use in the past year. Also, 21.56% of the sample reported experiencing any deployment-related sexual assault and/or stalking-related behavior, 17.34% reported any stalking-related behavior and no sexual assault, 2.42% reported both sexual assault and stalking-related behavior, and 1.80% reported sexual assault and no stalking-related behavior. The most commonly endorsed behaviors were being followed or spied on (9.09%), receiving unsolicited correspondence (8.34%-8.74%), and having someone show up at places you were (6.90%).
U.S. servicewomen experiencing sexual assault and/or stalking-related behavior during deployment may be at higher risk for binge drinking and experiencing negative consequence of substance use when compared with their peers not reporting these stressors.