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Medical profile of women Veterans Administration outpatients who report a history of sexual assault occurring while in the military.

Frayne SM, Skinner KM, Sullivan LM, Tripp TJ, Hankin CS, Kressin NR, Miller DR. Medical profile of women Veterans Administration outpatients who report a history of sexual assault occurring while in the military. Journal of Women's Health & Gender-Based Medicine. 1999 Jul 1; 8(6):835-45.

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Abstract:

To profile differences in current physical symptoms and medical conditions among women users of Veterans Administration (VA) health services with and without a self-reported history of sexual assault sustained during military service, we conducted a cross-sectional analysis of a nationally representative, random sample of women veterans using VA outpatient services (n = 3632). A self-administered, mailed survey asked whether women had sustained sexual assault while in the military and requested information about a spectrum of physical symptoms and medical conditions. A history of sexual assault while in the military was reported by 23% of women VA users and was associated with current physical symptoms and medical conditions in every domain assessed. For example, women who reported sexual assault were more likely to indicate that they had a "heart attack" within the past year, even after adjusting for age, hypertension, diabetes, and smoking history (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.3-4.0). Among women reporting a history of sexual assault while in the military, 26% endorsed > or = 12 of 24 symptoms/conditions, compared with 11% of women with no reported sexual assault while in the military (p < 0.001). Clinicians need to be attuned to the high frequency of sexual assault occurring while in the military reported by women VA users and its associated array of current physical symptoms and medical conditions. Clinicians should consider screening both younger and older patients for a sexual violence history, especially patients with multiple physical symptoms.





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