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Military sexual assault and homeless women veterans: clinical correlates and treatment preferences.

Decker SE, Rosenheck RA, Tsai J, Hoff R, Harpaz-Rotem I. Military sexual assault and homeless women veterans: clinical correlates and treatment preferences. Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. 2013 Nov 1; 23(6):e373-80.

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BACKGROUND: Both homeless women and women who have experienced military sexual assault (MSA) are at high risk of serious psychological sequelae. However, little is known about the combined impact of MSA and current homelessness on psychological distress, or about distinctive treatment preferences among homeless female veterans affected by MSA. METHODS: This observational study compared clinical symptoms, pre-military experiences, and treatment preferences among 509 female veterans with and without MSA who enrolled in 11 VA Homeless Women Veterans Programs. RESULTS: Over one third of participants (41.1%) reported MSA. In multivariate analyses, homeless female veterans who reported MSA endorsed greater severity of PTSD and other psychiatric symptoms. Those who had experienced MSA were more likely to report interest in treatment, and treatment focused on safety was reported as especially attractive. CONCLUSIONS: Among homeless female veterans, MSA is associated with greater mental health symptoms and greater interest in safety-focused treatment. Services targeting the needs of homeless MSA survivors should be encouraged.

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