Mental Health of Soldiers Similar, Despite Gender

Women veterans who experience combat are as resilient as the men they serve alongside, according to the American Psychological Association.

“Contrary to popular belief, women who go to war respond to combat trauma much like their male counterparts,” Dawne Vogt, PhD, stated in a press release. “Men and women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008 experienced very similar levels of combat-related stress and post-deployment mental health impacts during the first year following return from deployment.”

Service members were drawn at random and 595 participated in a survey. Three hundred and forty were women and 252 men from active duty, National Guard, and Reserve forces.

Researchers used stress measures that included exposure to combat, experiencing the consequences of combat, difficult living situations in a war zone, and fearing for one’s safety and well-being.

Men reported more exposure to combat and the aftermath, along with difficult living conditions. Levels of post-traumatic stress, mental health functioning and depression were similar, although substance abuse was higher for men than women.

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