Eating disorders, post-traumatic stress, and sexual trauma in women veterans

Forman-Hoffman VL, Mengeling M, Booth BM, Torner J, Sadler AG.
Mil Med. 2012 Oct;177(10):1161-8.

SOURCE:  RTI, International, 3040 Cornwallis Road, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.

We examine lifetime eating disorders (EDOs) and associations with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sexual trauma during various stages of the life course (childhood, during military service, and lifetime) among women veterans. The sample included 1,004 women aged 20 to 52 years who had enrolled at 2 Midwestern Veterans Affairs Medical Centers or outlying clinics completed a retrospective telephone interview. Over 16% reported a lifetime EDO (4.7% had received a diagnosis, and an additional 11.5% self-reported suffering from an EDO). Associations were found between lifetime EDO, PTSD, and sexual trauma. Relationships maintained significance for both diagnosed and self-reported EDOs as well as lifetime completed rape and attempted sexual assaults. Sexual trauma during military service was more strongly associated with lifetime EDOs than childhood sexual trauma. The significant associations found between EDOs, PTSD, and sexual trauma indicate that EDO screening among women veterans with PTSD or histories of sexual trauma may be warranted.