Women, Trauma, and PTSD

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


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

Danger of experiencing injury

Findings from a large national mental health study reveal that a little more than half of all women will experience a minumum of one traumatic event in their life. Women are slightly not as likely to experience trauma than men. The most common trauma for women is sexual assault or child sexual abuse. About one in three women will experience a sexual assault in their lifetime. Rates of sexual assault are higher for girls than men. Girls are also more likely to be neglected or mistreated in childhood, to experience domestic violence, or to have a loved one unexpectedly expire.

What occurs after trauma

After an injury, some girls may feel depressed, begin drinking or using medications, or develop PTSD. Women are more than twice as likely to develop PTSD than men (10% for women and 4% for men).

Women are more likely to experience sexual assault.

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

Girls may be more likely to blame themselves for trauma experiences than men.

Why are some women at higher risk for PTSD?

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

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

Experienced a very severe or life-threatening injury

Were sexually assaulted

Were injured during the event

Had a severe reaction during the period of the event

Experienced other stressful do PTSD parents cause their children trauma? events later

Do not have good social support

What PTSD is like for girls

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

Treatment for PTSD

There are good treatments for PTSD. Nonetheless, not everyone who experiences a trauma seeks treatment. Girls may be more likely than men to find help after a traumatic event. A minumum of one study found that girls respond to treatment as well as or better than men. This may be because women are usually more comfortable sharing feelings and referring to personal things with others than guys.

Girls in the military

Presently, about 15% of all military personnel in Iraq are girls. Although men are prone to experience battle, a growing variety of women are being subjected to fight.