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Research on PTSD, Sexual Trauma Examined by Senate Subcommittee

On April 20, the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel held a hearing on the “Current State of Research, Diagnosis, and Treatment for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury.”

“Experiences of MST [military sexual trauma] are strongly associated with a range of mental health conditions,” said Dr. Amy Street, deputy director, Women’s Health Sciences Division, National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Dr. Street continued, “These mental health disorders can include depression and substance use disorders, but experiences of MST have a particularly strong association with PTSD. In fact, research data from civilian samples demonstrates that rape is the traumatic experience with the strongest predictive probability of PTSD. Research data from veteran samples indicates that experiences of MST are an equal or stronger predictor of PTSD as compared to other military-related stressors, including exposure to combat.”

The following witnesses also testified:

  • Captain Walter Greenhalgh, MC, U.S. Navy, director, National Intrepid Center of Excellence Directorate, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center; and
  • Captain Michael Colston, MC, U.S. Navy, director, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.
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