Health Services Research & Development

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Bovin MJ, Black SK, Kleiman SE, Brown ME, Brown LG, Street AE, Rosen RC, Keane TM, Marx BP. The Impact of Assessment Modality and Demographic Characteristics on Endorsement of Military Sexual Trauma. Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. 2019 Jun 25; 29 Suppl 1:S67-S73.
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Abstract: OBJECTIVES: Military sexual trauma (MST) is a pervasive problem among veterans, and is associated with a host of deleterious outcomes. It is, therefore, imperative to identify individuals who have experienced MST so that they can be offered appropriate treatment. To determine how to best identify MST survivors, the current study examined how different assessment modalities might affect MST endorsement, and whether endorsement varied as a product of demographic group membership. METHODS: Data from 697 male and female veterans participating in the Veterans'' After-Discharge Longitudinal Registry (Project VALOR) were used to examine how three different MST assessment modalities-the Veterans Health Administration screen, a study interview, and a study questionnaire measure-might affect MST endorsement across five different demographic variables (gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, race, and age). Each participant was evaluated for MST exposure using each of the three assessment modalities. RESULTS: Both assessment modality and demographic membership influenced MST endorsement. MST endorsement on the study measures was consistently twice as large as on the Veterans Health Administration screen, across demographic groups. For men, MST endorsement varied by a factor of 11 across measures, with endorsement being lowest on the Veterans Health Administration screen and highest on the study questionnaire. Although differences were also detected for sexual minority and Black participants, these findings may have been better explained by gender differences. CONCLUSIONS: Both assessment modality and demographic membership substantially influenced MST endorsement. Providing a clear rationale for screening and increasing privacy around screening results, particularly for male veterans, may help to facilitate MST disclosure.