Women, Injury, and PTSD

Trauma is common in women; five out of ten girls experience a distressing event. Women often experience different traumas than guys. While both men and women report the exact same symptoms of PTSD (hyperarousal, reexperiencing, avoidance, and numbing), some symptoms are somewhat more common for women or guys.


Most early info on PTSD and injury came from studies of male Veterans, largely Vietnam Veterans. Women's experiences of trauma can also cause PTSD. This finding led to more research on women's exposure to trauma and PTSD.

Risk of experiencing trauma

Findings from a large national mental health study reveal that a bit more than half of all women will experience at least one traumatic event in their life. Women are marginally not as likely to experience injury than men. The most typical injury for women is sexual assault or child sexual abuse. About one in three girls will experience a sexual assault within their lifetime. Rates of sexual assault are higher for girls than men. Women are also more inclined to experience domestic violence or abused in childhood, to be neglected, or to have a loved one unexpectedly die.

What occurs after injury

After an injury, some girls start drinking or using medications may feel depressed, or develop PTSD. There are a few reasons women might get PTSD more than men:

Women are somewhat more likely to experience sexual assault.

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

Girls might be more likely to blame themselves for injury experiences than men.

Why are some girls at higher risk for PTSD?

Not all girls who experience a traumatic event develop PTSD. Girls are more prone to develop PTSD if they:

Have a previous mental health issue (for example depression or stress)

Experienced an extremely severe or life threatening injury

Were assaulted

Were injured during the occasion

Had a severe reaction at the time of the occasion

Experienced other stressful occasions after

Do not have great social support

What PTSD is like for girls

Some PTSD symptoms are PTSD child abuse somewhat more prevalent in women than guys. Girls are prone to be jumpy, to have more trouble feeling emotions, and to prevent things that remind them of the trauma than guys. Men are prone to feel angry and to have trouble controlling their anger then girls. Women with PTSD are prone to feel depressed and anxious, while men with PTSD are more likely to have issues with drugs or alcohol.

Treatment for PTSD

There are good treatments for PTSD. Yet, not everybody who experiences a trauma seeks treatment. Women might be more likely than men to find help after a disturbing event. At least one study found that women respond to treatment as well as or better than guys. This may be because women are usually more comfortable discussing personal matters with others than men and sharing feelings.

Women in the military

Women in the military are at high risk for exposure to traumatic events, especially during times of war. Now, about 15% of all military personnel in Iraq are women. An increasing number of women are being subjected to fight although men are more likely to experience combat. Girls in the military are at higher danger of exposure to sexual harassment or sexual assault than guys. Future studies are needed to better comprehend the effects of women's exposure to both battle and sexual assault.