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In the News

Military women have same risk of PTSD as men



Pfc. Christina Fuentes Montenegro takes part in a training exercise in 2013. She was among the first women to graduate from Marine Infantry Training Battalion.
Pfc. Christina Fuentes Montenegro takes part in a training exercise in 2013. She was among the first women to graduate from Marine Infantry Training Battalion. (Photo by Sgt. Tyler Main)

Pfc. Christina Fuentes Montenegro takes part in a training exercise in 2013. She was among the first women to graduate from Marine Infantry Training Battalion. (Photo by Sgt. Tyler Main)

The Washington Post and other publications (including VA Research Currents) reported on a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research that found women warriors are at the same risk of developing PTSD as men.

The study looked at more than 2,300 pairs of men and women deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and matched based on variables such as combat exposure, age, race, military occupation, marital status, and pay grade. After following the pairs for an average of seven years, the researchers found that 6.7 percent of women and 6.1 percent of men developed PTSD. Accordingly, the study concluded, gender alone is not an indicator of PTSD risk.

"Our study bodes very well for women not only in leadership, but also for women in lower ranks," Dr. Shira Maguen, a staff psychiatrist at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and an associate professor at the UCSF School of Medicine, told the Post.

In an interview with VA Research Currents, Maguen, one of the study's co-authors, added, "Our focus should be on the types of traumatic experiences that people have been exposed to, rather than any inherent gender differences in the development of PTSD."

The study team included researchers from VA, the Department of Defense, and UCSF. Lead author was Dr. Isabel Jacobson of the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego.


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