Document Type



Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a trauma and stress related disorder that some people develop after exposure to a traumatic life altering event. The person must witness the traumatic event, have the traumatic event occur to a loved one, or experience a traumatic event first hand. According to the publication of the American Psychiatric Association, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the diagnostic criteria for the identity of PTSD must include behavioral symptoms that accompany PTSD in four diagnostic clusters; re-experiencing, avoidance, negative cognitions and mood, and arousal (American Psychological Association, 2018). Two of the most common demographics affected by PTSD are survivors of sexual assault and combat war veterans and these are typically cached together. Yet, preliminary investigation suggests while there is overlap in manifestation of the disease, there may be important differences depending on the context in which the events took place: military versus sexual assault. Scientific literature will be used to create an in-depth comparison of the similarities and differences in symptoms and physiological impacts of PTSD between sexual assault survivors and combat war veterans. Specifically, this study will focus on differences and also the identification of biomarkers of chronic pain, addiction and assessment of immune function. The desired outcome is to develop a better comprehension of PTSD and work towards public awareness of the differences between sexual and war combat PTSD. This will result in facilitating a more accurate and successful understanding of treatment for individuals who are experiencing symptoms of PTSD.



Thesis Comittee

Dr. Merideth Krevosky, Thesis Advisor

Dr. Sharon Goyette, Thesis Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Adams, Committee Member

Dr. Joseph Seggio, Committee Member

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.