Lower Sexual Satisfaction and Function Mediate the Association of Assault Military Sexual Trauma and Relationship Satisfaction in Partnered Female Service Members/Veterans

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9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Little is known about the association of military sexual trauma (MST) and relationship satisfaction among partnered female service members/veterans (SM/Vs). Extant civilian literature shows a strong association between sexual trauma and poorer relationship outcomes, and theory suggests that sexual function and satisfaction may mediate this association. Given that as many as 40% of female SM/Vs report MST and roughly half of female veterans are partnered and in their peak sexual years, it is critical to understand the association of MST, relationship satisfaction, sexual function, and sexual satisfaction in this population. Female SM/Vs (N = 817) completed a demographic inventory, self-report measures of MST, relationship satisfaction, sexual function, and sexual satisfaction. One hundred fifty-one (18.48%) participants did not experience MST. Three hundred eighty-eight (47.49%) reported that they experienced harassment-only MST, and 278 (34.03%) reported assault MST. At the bivariate level, lower relationship satisfaction was associated with lower sexual function and satisfaction with large effect sizes. Assault MST was associated with lower relationship satisfaction and sexual function and satisfaction with small-to-medium effect sizes. No differences in relationship satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, and function between those with harassment-only and no MST were observed. Mediation analyses demonstrated that lower sexual function and satisfaction mediated the association of assault MST and relationship satisfaction. Couples’ therapy offered to SM/Vs with MST should screen for type of MST, sexual function, and satisfaction. Addressing the sequelae of MST and increasing sexual function and satisfaction in these partnerships may be critical treatment targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-596
Number of pages11
JournalFamily Process
Volume59
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Female Service Members/Veterans
  • Military Sexual Trauma
  • Relationship Satisfaction
  • Sexual Dissatisfaction
  • Sexual Dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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