Shira Maguen, PhD, a psychologist at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, and colleague conducted their research using the Millennium Cohort Study, which includes more than 200,000 active-duty soldiers and veterans.
In the new study, 2,300 pairs of men and women were matched based on different measures, including combat exposure, and monitored for nearly seven years. All the soldiers did not have PTSD at the start of the research.
During the study period, 6.7% of women and 6.1% of men developed PTSD, the researchers reported in the Journal of Psychiatric Research. However, that difference is not considered statistically significant. — a difference that is not statistically significant, according to the researchers.
The rates of PTSD are lower than the commonly cited rates of 11 to 20% among returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans because the study excluded men and women who had PTSD at the outset, according to Maguen.
“I do think military women are extremely resilient, but I think the differences in rates in the civilian literature actually have to do with a number of factors, including women having much higher rates of interpersonal traumas, which we know put people at high risk for PTSD,” she said in a statement.