Purpose: To determine whether the type or frequency of intentional violence experiences among women during military service influences health status or healthcare utilization. Differences in utilization and health status were also examined while controlling for life span violence exposures and important patient characteristic confounders. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of women veterans was conducted using a random sample stratified by region and era of service. Women veterans who served in the Vietnam and subsequent eras (n = 520) were selected from comprehensive women's healthcare centers' registries at Department of Veterans medical centers in Boston, Durham, Tampa, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Los Angeles (n = 8693). Socioeconomic information, violence exposure history, outpatient healthcare utilization, and assessment of health status (measured by the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 36) were obtained by structured telephone interview. Results: The type of violence women experienced was unrelated to differences in medical utilization. Women reporting repeated violence exposures during military service had significantly more outpatient visits in the year preceding the interview than singly or nontraumatized peers (16 vs. 9 and 8 visits, respectively, p < 0.05). Repeatedly assaulted women also had poorer health status (p < 0.05), and more often reported a history of childhood violence (p < 0.001) and postmilitary violence (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Repeated violence exposure is a relatively common experience among women in the military, and this has substantial implications for their health.
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