Objective: Preliminary research suggests that perceptions of institutional betrayal are associated with more severe symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, as well as suicide attempts in military sexual trauma (MST) survivors. However, results have not been replicated. Additionally, associations of institutional betrayal with specific PTSD symptom clusters or sexual function are understudied. Method: Female service members/veterans who reported experiencing MST (N = 679) completed self-report measures of PTSD and depression symptom severity, suicidal ideation, and sexual function. Institutional betrayal was assessed from free-text descriptions of self-reported index traumas. Results: Institutional betrayal was significantly associated with more severe depression and PTSD symptoms, including avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, re-experiencing, and dysphoric arousal. Conclusions: Targeting specific PTSD and depressive symptoms through evidence-based treatment may be important for managing institutional betrayal sequelae. Future research should identify specific strategies to help support survivors in their recovery following institutional betrayal.
- military psychology
- posttraumatic stress disorder
- sexual assault
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Psychology