Correlates of Comorbid PTSD and Polysubstance Use in Sexual Assault Victims
Sarah E Ullman, Stephanie M Townsend, Laura L Starzynski, LaDonna M Long. Violence and Victims. New York: Dec 2006. Tomo 21, Nº 6; pg. 725, 17 pgs
A diverse sample of community-residing women in a large metropolitan area who had experienced adult sexual assault was surveyed using standardized measures in anNIAAA-funded study (2003-2004). Four groups ( N = 503) of victims: (1) post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-only, (2) PTSD and illicit drug use, (3) PTSD and drinking problems, and (4) PTSD and polysubstance use were compared using bivariate analyses. Victims with PTSD/polysubstance use had lower socioeconomic status, more extensive trauma histories, worse current psychological functioning, moreproblematic post-assault psychosocial experiences, and more sexual revictimization at follow-up than those with PTSD only. Implications for future research are discussed. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]
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Copyright Springer Publishing Company Dec 2006
|A diverse sample of community-residing women in a large metropolitan area who had experienced adult sexual assault was |
|surveyed using standardized measures in an NIAAA-funded study (2003-2004). Four groups ( N = 503) of victims: (1) |
|post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD)-only, (2) PTSD and illicit drug use, (3) PTSD and drinking problems, and (4) PTSD and |
|polysubstance use were compared using bivariate analyses. Victims with PTSD/polysubstance use had lower socioeconomic status, |
|more extensive trauma histories, worse current psychological functioning, more problematic post-assault psychosocial |
|experiences, and more sexual revictimization atfollow-up than those with PTSD only. Implications for future research are |
|Keywords: sexual assault; comorbidity; polysubstance use; PTSD; survey; women |
Researchers have identified numerous effects ofsexual assault on women, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol problems, and drug use (Foa & Riggs, 1993; Stewart & Israeli, 2000; Thompson, Arias, Basile, & Desai, 2002; Ullman, 2003). Sexual violence is related to one of the highest rates of PTSD in civilian samples (see review in Norris, Foster, & Weisshaar, 2002), with one-third of female rape victims developing PTSD at sometime in their lives compared with 5% of nonvictims (Kilpatrick, Edmunds, & Seymour, 1992). Having a sexual assault history is also associated with a greater risk of drinking problems or drug abuse/dependence in women (Burnam et al., 1988; Kilpatrick, Acierno, Resnick, Saunders, & Best, 1997; Wilsnack, Vogeltanz, Klassen, & Harris, 1997) than not having such experiences. For example, in a recentlongitudinal analysis of a national sample of women, those assaulted during the two-year study period were 2.8 times more likely to be diagnosed with alcohol abuse than nonassaulted women (Kilpatrick et al., 1997). In addition, child sexual abuse was found to be associated with 2.93 times greater odds of drug dependence for adult women from a large nonclinical sample than for nonabused controls(Kendler et al., 2000).
In addition, recent reviews suggest significant comorbidity (e.g., co-occurrence) of PTSD and substance abuse/drinking problems, particularly in female trauma survivors (Stewart, 1996; Stewart & Israeli, 2000). Theories such as the self-medication hypothesis (Cappell & Greeley, 1987) posit that victims suffering from PTSD may use alcohol to reduce reexperiencing and intrusive...
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