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Intimate Partner Violence During Military Service and OEF/OIF Active Component and Reserve and National Guard Service Women

Mengeling M, Sadler AG, Torner J, Barron S, Booth B. Intimate Partner Violence During Military Service and OEF/OIF Active Component and Reserve and National Guard Service Women. Poster session presented at: AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting; 2013 Jun 24; Baltimore, MD.


Research Objective: To identify intimate partner violence (IPV) experiences during military service of OEF/OIF Active Component (AC) and Reserves/National Guard (RNG) servicewomen, including deployment associated IPV. Study Design: 1339 women participated in a cross Sectional Study. Consenting women completed a computer-assisted telephone interview assessing socio-demographic and military characteristics, trauma exposures, health outcomes and care. Population Studied: Women with current or prior OEF/OIF AC or RNG military service. Defense Manpower Data Center provided the sample from 5 Midwestern states. Principal Findings: Participant median age was 37 years (range 18-59). Most were white (77%), Married (54%) and currently actively serving (80%). IPV, violence perpetrated by a spouse, partner, or ex-partner was experienced by one-third (33%) of women during their military service. Of the women experiencing IPV, most reported that being emotional abused by their partner (n = 372, 84.7%). The next most common type of abuse was physical with 40.6% (n = 178) reporting being hit, slapped, kicked or otherwise physically hurt. Another 19 (4.3%) reported being threatened with physical harm but did not report being physically hurt. Sexual assault by an intimate partner, which includes attempted and completed rape, was also common during military service (21.2%, n = 93). Stalking was reported by 14.6% of women who experienced IPV. Twenty-four (5.5%) women reported being threatened with a gun, knife, or other weapon. Almost half of the women (46.0%, n = 202) reported multiple types of IPV. Women who were victims of IPV during their military service were more likely to be in the army (p = .015), currently be students (p = .002), be separated, divorced, or widowed (p < .001), have cared for a child or children (p < .001), joined the military to avoid domestic violence (p < ..005), have a service connected disability (p = .042), screen positive for probable PTSD (p < .001), and screen positive for probable depression (p < .001). There were no significant differences found in IPV occurrence during military between officers and enlisted women, RNG or AC service, or women who were deployed during OEF/OIF and those not deployed. Implications for Policy, Delivery, or Practice: The VA routinely screens for MST but not IPV. Hence, the health consequences of IPV, with and without additive military sexual violence or deployment traumas, and current safety of these servicewomen may be overlooked. Further research is indicated to understand unique risk factors and health outcomes of military IPV. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that IPV during military experience is a common experience in OEF/OIF AC and R/NG servicewomen and a significant public health concern.

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