Sexual Intimate Partner Violence as a Form of MST: An Initial Investigation.


This study examines the impact of military sexual trauma on a woman’s health when the act is perpetrated by a past or current intimate partner.




Military sexual trauma (MST) is known to impact women's health, but little is known about the occurrence of MST perpetrated by a past or current intimate partner. This study identified the occurrence of intimate partner violence (IPV)-related MST in a sample of female veterans. We also examined the associations between MST history (no MST history, IPV-related MST, and MST by a nonintimate partner) and mental and physical health symptoms. Participants were 369 female veteran patients of Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) facilities in the New England region of the United States who completed a larger 2012 mail survey that included validated assessments of MST, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD Checklist) and depressive symptoms (CES-D), and general physical and mental health functioning (Short Form-36). Approximately half (49%) of the women in this sample reported a history of MST, of which 27 (15%) were categorized as IPV-related MST. Few differences in health measures were observed among women with IPV-related MST compared with women who experienced MST by a nonintimate partner or women with no MST history. However, women who experienced IPV-related MST had similarly severe health symptoms as women who reported MST by a nonintimate partner and more severe PTSD symptoms than women without a history of MST. Some women veterans have experienced MST at the hands of an intimate partner and face health impacts. This topic warrants additional attention in clinical and research efforts.

Full Reference

Mercado, R., Ming Foynes, M., Carpenter, S. L., Iverson, K. M. Psychological Services, Vol 12(4), Nov 2015, 348-356