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HSR&D 2004 National Meeting Abstracts

2002. Repeated Violence Against Military Women: Effects on Health Status and Care
Anne G Sadler, RN, PhD

Objectives: To determine whether the type or frequency of intentional violence experiences among women during military service influence health status or health care utilization. Differences in utilization and health status were also examined while controlling for important potential pre-military violence exposures and patient characteristic confounders.

Methods: A national cross-sectional survey of 520 women veterans serving in Vietnam or subsequent eras were obtained through structured telephone interviews. A stratified survey design selected subjects according to era of service and location. The interview included. socioeconomic information, violence exposure history, outpatient health-care utilization, and the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 to assess health-related quality of life.

Results: The type of violence women experienced (rape, physical assault) was unrelated to differences in medical utilization. Women reporting repeated violence exposures during military service had significantly more outpatient visits in the year preceding the interview than singly or non-traumatized peers (16 versus 9 and 8 visits, respectively, P < 0.05). Repeatedly assaulted women also had the greatest health impairment, and more often reported a history of childhood violence (P < 0.001) and post-military violence (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: More than a decade after rape or physical assault during military service, women with repeated violence exposure reported severely impaired health status, increased health services utilization, and other adverse socioeconomic effects.

Impact: The sequelae of violence against women are an important health care concern for women. Clinicians must be trained to make routine trauma assessments. Focused interventions to address prevention of repeat victimization and provide appropriate health services are indicated.