Research on Capitol Hill

Presenter and Co-Presenter(s)

Danielle Christensen, Utah State University

Faculty Mentor

Rebecca K. Blais


  • 25% of women Veterans report military sexual trauma (MST)
  • MST includes contact (e.g., rape) and non-contact (e.g., harassment) assault
  • MST is highly correlated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • PTSD symptoms include nightmares, family problems, insomnia, irritability, depression, and hypervigilence
    • MST is more likely to cause PTSD than deadly combat experiences
  • PTSD severity is negatively associated with relationship quality
    • Problematic as relationship quality is a protective factor against PTSD-related dysfunction
  • Physical touch and intimacy are integral in romantic relationships
    • However, touch apprehension following sexual trauma has not been studied in those with MST
  • To promote well-being and buffer against distress, we need to understand how touch apprehension and MST relate to relationship quality in partnered women Veterans


  • Determine if relationship quality differs based on contact or non-contact MST assault
  • Examine the association of MST and touch apprehension with relationship quality above other distress risk factors

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Research On Capitol Hill 2016

Document Type


Publication Date


Included in

Psychology Commons



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