Comorbidity of sexual problems and posttraumatic stress disorder in female crime victims

Elizabeth J. Letourneau, Heidi S. Resnick, Dean G. Kilpatrick, Benjamin E. Saunders, Connie L. Best

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study examined the relationship between Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and sexual problems using data from a subset of women (n = 391) interviewed about history of crime victimization and DSM-III-defined mental health problems (American Psychiatric Association, 1980). The sample was subdivided based on positive (n = 228) or negative (n = 165) history of sexual problems. These two groups were compared on a number of demographics, crime characteristics, and mental health variables. Variables significantly related to sexual problems included having experienced (a) some form of criminal victimization, (b) completed rape, (c) physical injury during the crime, (d) depression, and (e) PTSD. A logistic regression was conducted with these significant variables. The PTSD variable was entered into the regression model last and was found to contribute a significant amount of the variance after accounting for variance contributed by the other variables. This finding supports the hypothesis that PTSD may act as a moderating variable on the development of sexual problems in women with sexual and nonsexual trauma histories. The findings from the present study are largely consistent with learning theory models of posttraumatic adjustment. Clinical and research implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-336
Number of pages16
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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