Mental health issues in recently returning women veterans: Implications for practice

Bonnie E. Carlson, Layne K. Stromwall, Cynthia Lietz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Increasing numbers of women are found in the military, and they are now performing roles very similar to those of male service members. More returning servicewomen and veterans have been exposed to stressful and traumatic experiences, such as combat and difficult living circumstances, and military sexual trauma is common. These experiences have been found to be associated with adverse mental health outcomes, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and substance abuse in particular. Comorbidity rates are also high. In addition, more veterans are returning with injuries, including traumatic brain injuries. Although more women veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom are seeking health services at Veterans Administration facilities, many are not. Thus, community-based social workers need to be familiar with the needs of this growing population to serve them effectively. Use of empirically supported assessment instruments and screening for military sexual trauma are recommended. Recommended interventions include the use of evidence-supported practices, such as cognitive-behavioral treatment, and offering assistance to enhance social support among women veterans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-114
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Work (United States)
Volume58
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

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Keywords

  • military
  • OEF/OIF
  • veterans
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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