Institutional betrayal following military sexual trauma is associated with more severe depression and specific posttraumatic stress disorder symptom clusters

Felicia J. Andresen, Lindsey L. Monteith, Jordan Kugler, Rick A. Cruz, Rebecca K. Blais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Preliminary research suggests that perceptions of institutional betrayal are associated with more severe symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, as well as suicide attempts in military sexual trauma (MST) survivors. However, results have not been replicated. Additionally, associations of institutional betrayal with specific PTSD symptom clusters or sexual function are understudied. Method: Female service members/veterans who reported experiencing MST (N = 679) completed self-report measures of PTSD and depression symptom severity, suicidal ideation, and sexual function. Institutional betrayal was assessed from free-text descriptions of self-reported index traumas. Results: Institutional betrayal was significantly associated with more severe depression and PTSD symptoms, including avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, re-experiencing, and dysphoric arousal. Conclusions: Targeting specific PTSD and depressive symptoms through evidence-based treatment may be important for managing institutional betrayal sequelae. Future research should identify specific strategies to help support survivors in their recovery following institutional betrayal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1305-1319
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Volume75
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • depression
  • military psychology
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • sexual assault
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology

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