Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

The impact of military sexual trauma on parent-infant bonding in a sample of perinatal women veterans.

Creech SK, Kroll-Desrosiers A, Benzer JK, Pulverman CS, Mattocks K. The impact of military sexual trauma on parent-infant bonding in a sample of perinatal women veterans. Depression and anxiety. 2022 Mar 1; 39(3):201-210.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information vaww.hsrd.research.va.gov/dimensions/

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions



Abstract:

BACKGROUND: The experience of sexual assault and harassment during military service (military sexual trauma [MST]) is associated with increased risk for perinatal and reproductive health problems among women veterans. The objective of this study was to examine the associations between mothers' MST exposure and mother-infant bonding, as well as to examine whether there are any salient sociodemographic or military service characteristics among women veterans with greater impairment to mother-infant bonding, including stress during pregnancy and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis. METHODS: This study was a secondary analysis of data collected from prospective, longitudinal study of women veterans using VHA maternity care benefits at 15 VHA medical centers across the US between January 2016 and February 2020. Participants were 697 pregnant veterans using VHA maternity care benefits. RESULTS: MST was associated with higher maternal depression, and higher maternal depression was associated with poorer mother-infant bonding. The effect of MST on bonding was indirect through depression. PTSD diagnosis and life stressors during pregnancy also had significant indirect pathways with bonding through maternal depression. CONCLUSIONS: Results underscore the need for access to high quality and trauma-informed perinatal mental health treatment for women veterans, for education on the unique risks conveyed by MST provided to civilian providers treating this population outside VA, and for further research to understand how to ameliorate the harmful effects of MST on perinatal women veterans and their children.





Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team.

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.