Girls, Injury, and PTSD

Injury is common in women; five out of ten girls experience a traumatic event. Women often experience different traumas than men.


Most early information on injury and PTSD came from studies of male Veterans, largely Vietnam Veterans. Researchers found that women's reactions were similar to male battle Veterans and began to study the effects of sexual assault. Women's experiences of trauma may also cause PTSD. This finding led to more research on women's exposure to trauma and PTSD.

Hazard of experiencing injury

Findings from a big national mental health study demonstrate that a bit more than half of all women will experience a minumum of one traumatic event in their own life. Girls are somewhat not as likely to experience injury than guys. The most common injury for girls is sexual assault or child sexual abuse. About one in three women will experience a sexual assault in their own life. Rates of sexual assault are higher for women than men. Girls are also more inclined to be neglected or mistreated in childhood, to experience domestic violence, or to have a loved one suddenly die.

What happens after trauma

After an injury, some women develop PTSD, begin drinking or using drugs, or may feel depressed.

Women are somewhat more likely to experience sexual assault.

Sexual assault is more likely to cause PTSD than many other occasions.

Girls may be more inclined to blame themselves for injury experiences than men.

Why are some women at higher risk for PTSD?

Not all women who experience a traumatic occasion develop PTSD. Girls are more than likely to develop PTSD if they:

Have a past mental health issue (for example depression or anxiety)

Experienced a very severe or life threatening injury

Were attacked

Were injured during the event

Had a severe reaction at that period of the occasion

Experienced other stressful events afterwards

Do not have great social support

What PTSD is like for women

Some PTSD symptoms are more common in girls than men. Girls are more inclined to have more trouble feeling emotions, to be jumpy, and to prevent things that remind them of the injury than men. Men are more than likely to have trouble controlling their anger then girls do PTSD parents cause their children trauma? and to feel angry. Girls with PTSD are more prone to feel depressed and anxious, while guys with PTSD are more prone to possess issues with drugs or alcohol. Both men and women who experience PTSD may develop physical health issues.

Treatment for PTSD

There are good treatments for PTSD. Yet, not everyone who experiences a trauma seeks treatment. Women may be more likely than men to find help after a disturbing event. A minumum of one study found that girls react to treatment as well as or better than men. This might be because women are usually more comfortable sharing feelings and talking with others than guys about private matters.

Women in the military

Presently, about 15% of all military personnel in Iraq are girls. Although men are more than likely to experience battle, an increasing number of girls are now being exposed to combat. Future studies are needed to better understand the effects of women's exposure to both combat and sexual assault.