Women, Injury, and PTSD

Injury is common in women; five out of ten women experience a traumatic event. Girls often experience injuries that are different than men. While both women and men report the exact same symptoms of PTSD (hyperarousal, reexperiencing, avoidance, and numbing), some symptoms are somewhat more common for women or men.


Most early information on trauma and PTSD came from studies of male Veterans, mostly Vietnam Veterans. Women's experiences of injury may also cause PTSD.

Risk of experiencing injury

Findings from a sizable national mental health study reveal that a bit more than half of all women will experience at least one traumatic event in their life. Girls are slightly less likely to experience trauma than men. The most common 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 women than guys. Women are also more inclined to experience domestic violence or mistreated in childhood, to be neglected, or to have a loved one suddenly die.

What happens after injury

After an injury, some women may feel depressed, start drinking or using medications, or develop PTSD. Girls are more than two times as likely to develop PTSD than men (10% for women and 4% for men).

Women are more prone to experience sexual assault.

Sexual assault is more likely to cause PTSD than a number of other occasions.

Girls might be more inclined to blame themselves for trauma experiences than guys.

Why are some girls at higher risk for PTSD?

Not all girls who experience a traumatic event develop PTSD. Women are more than likely to develop PTSD if they:

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

Experienced a very serious or life threatening trauma

Were attacked

Were injured during the occasion

Had a severe response at the period of the event

Experienced other stressful occasions afterwards

Don't have good social support

What PTSD is like for girls

Some PTSD symptoms are more prevalent in girls than men. Women are more inclined to have more trouble feeling emotions, to be jumpy, and to avoid things that remind them of the trauma than men. Men are really more than likely to feel angry and to have trouble controlling their anger then girls. Women with PTSD are more prone to feel depressed and anxious, while men with PTSD are prone to have problems with alcohol or drugs.

Treatment for PTSD

There are good treatments for PTSD. Nevertheless, not everybody who experiences a trauma seeks treatment. Women may be more likely than men to find help after a traumatic event. A minumum of one study found that women respond to treatment as good as or better than guys. This may be because women are generally more comfortable talking with others than men about personal matters and sharing feelings.

Women in the military

Women in the military are at high risk for exposure to traumatic events, particularly during times of war. Currently, about 15% of all military personnel in Iraq are girls. Although men are prone to experience battle, a growing number of women are being subjected PTSD child abuse to battle. 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.