Gender and Trauma SIG
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Gender and Trauma SIG

Mission Statement

Current conceptualizations of posttraumatic stress disorder arose from two major groups of clinical observations: ?war neurosis? and ?shellshock? among male veterans of combat and ?rape trauma syndrome? among female survivors of sexual assault. While the medical and mental health professions now refer to such traumatic stress reactions under the common rubric of PTSD, current research and clinical observations still suggest that men and women may respond differently to traumatic events. For example, risk factors for PTSD differ by gender, men and women manifest symptoms of PTSD in different ways, and, most notably, women evidence twice the rate of PTSD as men following traumatic exposure. Unsurprisingly, many clinical and research specialties in the field of PTSD fall along gendered lines. As a result, interactions between type of trauma exposure and gender as they may relate to the risk and course of PTSD remain to be elucidated. Clinical observation and scholarly work in this area is essential to the basic understanding of traumatic stress responses and to providing the most effective treatment to trauma survivors

The primary goal of the ISTSS Gender and Trauma SIG is to create a dialogue among clinicians and researchers to effectively address and explore the role of gender in PTSD. A SIG within ISTSS is the ideal forum for this task, because we are able to bring a multidisciplinary group of professionals together from disparate service settings (e.g. Veterans Hospitals, Rape Treatment Centers) and disparate populations of interest that represent expertise with both men and women. In addition, individuals working in this area are able to disseminate the results and observations to a receptive audience with relevant application for this work.

The SIG has three sub-specialty areas: Research, Clinical and Education & Policy. Each of these three branches of this SIG undertakes activities to further the overall goals of the SIG. The research branch sponsors and supports gender-related research submissions to the ISTSS conference program. The clinical branch sponsors and encourages clinically oriented workshops and presentations regarding gender and PTSD at the ISTSS conferences. The clinical branch also compiles a resource book for clinical training in medicine, psychology, and social work where students can obtain experience with PTSD populations of both men and women, or training experiences that directly address gender issues. The Education branch is responsible for educating the membership on issues relevant to gender and PTSD in health care administration, health policy, and research administration, and organizing action on the part of the membership if appropriate. Such action may range from letter writing campaigns to circulation of employment openings, to responses to RFAs. Branch activities are accomplished via meetings at ISTSS annual meetings and an e-mail LISTSERV for the SIG


Katherine M. Iverson, PhD
Clinical Research Psychologist
Women's Health Sciences Division, National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Boston University
Phone: 857-364-2066
Fax: 857-364-4515
Email: Katherine.Iverson@va.gov

Yael Nillni, PhD
National Center for PTSD, Women's Health Science Division
VA Boston Healthcare System
Phone: (857) 364-4637
Email: ynillni@gmail.com


Posted on Description
3.9.2004 Welcome to the Gender and Trauma SIG website! Check back often for updates and ISTSS news.

Links & Resources

Statistics, Definitions, Research, National ? International

3.9.2004 Gender and Trauma Edited by Rachel Kimerling, Paige Ouimette, and Jessica Wolfe (2002).
Gender and PTSD 

Women Watch: Information and Resources on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women: United Nations website that contains information about the status of women in the international arena, with links to information regarding levels and types of violence against women.



United Nations: Statistical Division. The World's Women 2000: Trends and Statistics. This site offers an international view of women through statistical data and analysis, including information on families, health, and human rights.



Women, Trauma and PTSD: National Center for PTSD: This article contains information regarding the history, risk, prevalence, treatment and experience of trauma in women.



Sex Differences in Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Quantitative Review of 25 Years of Research: This article is a meta-analysis of research studies exploring sex-specific risks for experiencing potential traumatic events and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, as well as likelihood of experiencing particular types of trauma and developing PTSD.



American Medical Women's Association: This searchable website that can be used by both clinicians and the general community offers links to publications, resources, and programs.


U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women:: The Office on Violence Against Women works with various offices and jurisdictions to ensure the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act and subsequent legislation. This site also contains links to publications, as well as information on obtaining grants for studies relating to violence against women.


Clinical Resources and Research

American Psychological Association: Endorsed Clinical Resources: Suggested resources for clinicians.



American Psychological Association: Endorsed resources on gender: Suggested resources for clinicians.



PTSD Information for Women?s Medical Providers: This fact sheet provides information on the prevalence, physical and psychological consequences, and actions for providers to take when interacting with women who experience PTSD.



Women's Treatment Program, McLean Hospital: Information about women ? specific treatment program for trauma ? related issues.



United States Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): List of mental health links for women and men.


Center for Women Veterans, Department of Veteran Affairs: Health care information for women Veterans, including information about the Women Veterans Health Program (including military sexual assault).


Military Sexual Trauma: Issues in Caring for Veterans: This fact sheet discusses the unique aspects of military trauma experienced in the military, as well as the assessment and treatment. Psychological responses are also highlighted in this population.

Sexual Assault

Men and Sexual Trauma: National Center for PTSD: Fact sheet on men and sexual trauma, including prevalence, perpetrators, symptoms, and frequently asked questions.



Sexual Assault against Females: National Center for PTSD: Fact sheet on women and sexual trauma, including prevalence, perpetrators, symptoms, and frequently asked questions.



Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network (RAINN): This comprehensive website comprises facts and resources related to sexual assault.



PTSD Research Quarterly: Military Sexual Trauma: This article offers information on male and female military personnel and the epidemiology, treatment of related conditions, and health correlates of Military Sexual Trauma.



Sexual Abuse of Males: Prevalence, Possible Lasting Effects, and Resources:This website provides information on sexual abuse specifically in men, including information on education, reviews of research, understanding, and relevant resources for further investigation.


Domestic Violence

WomensLaw.org: This comprehensive website comprises state ? by ? state legal information and resources for domestic violence.



U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics: Female Victims of Violence: Report examining the similarities and differences in the magnitude and pattern of violent victimization characterized by sex of victim. Data include characteristics of crimes and victims, as well as estimates of the extent of crimes against females.



U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics: Initiatives to combat violence against women.


Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Issues/Information

The Community Center: This page lists transgender support groups, programs, and organizations nationwide.



The Renaissance Transgender Association, Inc.: This site contains links to information, support, and resources for issues around gender identity.



Transgender American Veterans Association: This organization is dedicated to addressing the growing concerns of transgender Veterans and Active Duty military personnel. It also serves as an educational organization to help administrations like the Dept. of Defense understand individuals they encounter who identify as being gender-different.



Transgender Law and Policy Institute: This non ? profit organization is dedicated to advocating for the transgender community. This site contains legal resources, laws, and policies relating to the transgender community.



The World Professional Association for Transgender Health: This organization is devoted to the understanding and treatment of gender identity disorders. This site contains information on evidence based care, education, research, public policy and respect in transgender health.



Association for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues in Counseling: Educational organization for mental health service providers about issues confronting GLBT individuals.



National Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health: Organization committed to improving the health and well-being of lesbian,gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the United States. Includes coalition profile, goals, news, announcements, and membership information.



Gay & Lesbian Medical Association: Directory of gay friendly doctors.


Women & Military/Female Veterans

Traumatic Stress in Female Veterans: National Center for PSTD: This fact sheet discusses findings from the first study of PTSD in Vietnam Veterans that looked at the prevalence and experience of trauma in female Veterans.



Rape of Women in the War Zone: National Center for PSTD: This fact sheet provides information on the history, consequences, and treatment of sexual violence experienced by women in times of war.



A New Generation of Women Veterans: Stressors Faced by Women Deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan: This article highlights emerging issues in the development of PTSD in women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, including gender specific-experiences and unique effects on mental health.



Military Sexual Trauma: Issues in Caring for Veterans: This fact sheet offers information on male and female veterans and the similar and differential experiences of sexual trauma in the military.



Women Who Served in Our Military: Insights for Intervention: This video explores the adverse effects of deployment to war zones that women face, including the impact of stress responses and highlighting the many trauma treatment options available to women Veterans today.