Women, Injury, and PTSD

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


Most early info on PTSD and trauma came from studies of male Veterans, mostly Vietnam Veterans. Researchers started to examine the effects of sexual assault and found that women's reactions were similar to male combat Veterans. 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 trauma

Findings from a big national mental health study demonstrate that a little 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 trauma than men. The most frequent trauma for girls is sexual assault or child sexual abuse. About one in three girls will experience a sexual assault in their lifetime. Speeds of sexual assault are higher for girls than guys. Girls are also more inclined to be neglected or mistreated in childhood, to experience domestic violence, or to have a loved one unexpectedly expire.

What happens after injury

After a trauma, some girls start drinking or using drugs, may feel depressed, or develop PTSD. Women are more than twice as likely to develop PTSD than men (10% for girls and 4% for men).

Women are more than likely to experience sexual assault.

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

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 prone to develop PTSD if they:

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

Experienced an extremely serious or life-threatening injury

Were assaulted

Were injured during the event

Had a severe response during the time of the event

Experienced other stressful events after

Do not have good social support

What PTSD is like for women

Some PTSD symptoms are childhood trauma somewhat more prevalent in women than men. Women are more prone to have more trouble feeling emotions to be jumpy, and to avoid things that remind them of the injury than guys. Men are really more prone to have trouble controlling their anger then girls and to feel upset. Women with PTSD are more prone to feel depressed and apprehensive, while men with PTSD are prone to possess difficulties with substances or alcohol.

Treatment for PTSD

There are good treatments for PTSD. Women might be more likely than men to seek help after a distressing event. A minumum of one study found that girls respond to treatment as well as or better than men. This might be because women are usually more comfortable sharing feelings and talking about private things with others than guys.

Girls in the military

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