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Street AE, Shin MH, Marchany KE, McCaughey VK, Bell ME, Hamilton AB. Veterans' perspectives on military sexual trauma-related communication with VHA providers. Psychological Services. 2019 Oct 17.
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Abstract: Given the number of veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma (MST) and the impact of these experiences on veteran health, Veterans Health Administration (VHA) providers frequently communicate with patients about these experiences, either as part of the VHA's universal MST screening program or more comprehensive clinical care. The purpose of this study was to understand veterans' perceptions of communication related to MST disclosures with VHA providers. We conducted qualitative interviews, including a numeric rating question, with 55 veterans whose medical records indicated recent MST-related interactions with VHA providers. The sample included men and women, with and without histories of MST. We analyzed interview transcripts using matrices and identified themes related to satisfaction with communication. Veterans from all groups reported generally high satisfaction with MST-related communication, although men, as a group, reported a much larger range of satisfaction ratings than women. Key provider-related indicators of satisfaction included providers' communication mechanics and nonspecific patient-centered skills and characteristics. One patient-related indicator of lower satisfaction-inherent discomfort discussing MST experiences-was particularly represented among men with MST histories. These data from veteran patients will be reassuring to providers whose concerns about patient reactions to these conversations may inhibit them from raising this important issue. Understanding variables that promote patient satisfaction with MST disclosure communication is critical for promoting sensitive patient-provider interactions about MST. This ultimately can have important downstream effects on veteran health, allowing veterans to forge satisfying relationships with providers and ultimately facilitate recovery from traumatic experiences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

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