Date of Award

Summer 1-7-2022

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Amanda Gilmore, PhD

Second Advisor

Terri Pigott, PhD

Third Advisor

Shannon Self-Brown, PhD

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Sexual assault (SA) victimization affects thousands of service members in the military each year and identifying risk factors of SA is essential to inform prevention efforts.

AIM: To synthesize literature on SA within the military to determine risk factors of SA incidence.

METHODS: Risk factors from 6 epidemiological studies were compared via meta-analysis using R. Odds ratios and tests of heterogeneity were calculated to illustrate the collective odds of SA given each risk factor across the studies and to show variability. Odds ratios were calculated separately for risk factors only mentioned in one study.

RESULTS: Women (OR =16.37), persons reporting sexual harassment during service (OR = 14.54), persons with a SA history (OR = 3.99), enlisted rank (OR = 2.47), non-married persons (OR = 2) and persons with no college experience were at greater risk of SA (OR = 1.32). Being White was found to be a protective factor (OR = 0.76). Our descriptive analysis found that experiencing stalking (OR = 11.84), being a sexual minority (OR = 2.15) or transgender increased the risk of SA (OR = 1.91). However, transgender womxn were at lower risk of SA than transgender mxn (OR = 0.42).

DISCUSSION: It may be useful to develop tailored prevention programs for those identified as at risk according to our findings. Further, more needs to be done to address the environmental and cultural factors specific to the military that perpetuate SA incidence.

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