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Cucciare MA, Mengeling MA, Han X, Kennedy K, Torner J, Sadler AG. Experiencing Sexual Assault and/or Stalking-Related Behavior is Associated with Binge Drinking and Substance Use Consequences in Deployed U.S. Servicewomen. Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. 2022 Jul 1; 32(4):402-410.
BACKGROUND: Being deployed is a risk factor for poor postdeployment mental health outcomes in U.S. servicewomen, including harmful drinking. However, to our knowledge, no studies have examined deployment-related sexual assault and exposure to stalking-related behavior in relation to binge drinking and substance use consequences in this population. METHODS: A community sample of post-9/11 servicewomen from the Midwest, including both veterans and those actively serving (N = 991), completed computer-assisted telephone interviews after deployment. Logistic regression models examined associations between deployment-related sexual assault (attempted or completed) and stalking-related behavior (e.g., being left unwanted things, having property vandalized), and the likelihood of reporting binge drinking and substance use consequences after controlling for covariates. RESULTS: U.S. servicewomen experiencing deployment-related sexual assault and/or stalking-related behavior were more likely to report binge drinking in the past 4 weeks and at least one negative consequence of substance use in the past year. Also, 21.56% of the sample reported experiencing any deployment-related sexual assault and/or stalking-related behavior, 17.34% reported any stalking-related behavior and no sexual assault, 2.42% reported both sexual assault and stalking-related behavior, and 1.80% reported sexual assault and no stalking-related behavior. The most commonly endorsed behaviors were being followed or spied on (9.09%), receiving unsolicited correspondence (8.34%-8.74%), and having someone show up at places you were (6.90%). CONCLUSIONS: U.S. servicewomen experiencing sexual assault and/or stalking-related behavior during deployment may be at higher risk for binge drinking and experiencing negative consequence of substance use when compared with their peers not reporting these stressors.