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Military Sexual Trauma in Male Service Members

Eckerlin, Denise M. BSN, RN; Kovalesky, Andrea PhD, RN; Jakupcak, Matthew PhD

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: September 2016 - Volume 116 - Issue 9 - p 34–43
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000494690.55746.d9
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The experience of military sexual trauma (MST), which can result from assault, battery, or harassment of a sexual nature, may jeopardize the mental health of service members as well as that of their family members, colleagues, and community members. Although a greater proportion of female than male service members are subjected to MST, the Department of Defense estimates that the absolute numbers of affected men and women, across all ranks and branches of military service, are nearly equal because roughly 85% of military members are men. Little research has explored the effects of MST on men. This article discusses the unique ways in which men may experience MST, and examines how social stereotypes of masculinity, myths surrounding sexual assault, and military culture and structure often influence a man's interpretation of an attack and his likelihood of reporting the incident or seeking treatment. It describes current treatments for MST-related mental health conditions and addresses implications for nurses and other health care professionals.

This article examines the unique ways in which men experience military sexual trauma (MST) and explores the influence of stereotypes of masculinity, myths surrounding sexual assault, and military culture and structure on victims. It also describes current treatments for MST-related mental health conditions and how nurses can promote access to care.

Denise M. Eckerlin is an acute care RN on the resource team and cochair of the Resource Team Unit Practice Council at the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle. Andrea Kovalesky is an associate professor in the School of Nursing and Health Studies at the University of Washington Bothell. Matthew Jakupcak is a clinical psychologist and researcher at the Northwest Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center in the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle. Jakupcak's work on this article was supported by the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. Contact author: Denise M. Eckerlin, deck@u.washington.edu. The authors and planners have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.