Date of Award

Fall 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Michelle L. Kelley

Committee Member

Louis H. Janda

Committee Member

Donald D. Davis


Military sexual trauma (MST) is a serious and understudied problem in the military. It may be a particularly important problem for women who have experienced pre-military trauma (i.e., childhood physical or sexual abuse). This study examined the role that premilitary trauma plays in the development of poor psychological adjustment (i.e., depression, anxiety and somatic symptoms) and whether psychological adjustment mediates the relationship between pre-military trauma and MST in a sample of 169 military women recruited from the community. Combat exposure and alcohol use at the time of the trauma by the victim, were examined as potential moderators of the relationship between psychological adjustment and MST. Pre-military trauma was correlated with lower psychological adjustment, but pre-military trauma was not correlated with MST. Additionally, low psychological adjustment did not mediate the relationship between pre-military trauma and MST. Lastly, combat exposure and alcohol use at the time of the trauma did not moderate the relationship between lower psychological adjustment and MST. Although the hypotheses were not confirmed, however, in the present study, 27 percent of women reported MST, therefore, it is vital to study factors that may increase risk of MST, particularly among non-treatment seeking military women.


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