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Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Victims of Sexual Assault With Pre-assault Substance Consumption: A Systematic Review

Gong, AT; Kamboj, SK; Curran, HV; (2019) Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Victims of Sexual Assault With Pre-assault Substance Consumption: A Systematic Review. Frontiers in Psychiatry , 10 , Article 92. 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00092. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance consumption commonly co-occur in victims of sexual assault. Substance consumption can occur pre- andi/or post-assault. Pre-assault substance consumption may have an impact on the subsequent development of PTSD. This review aims to provide an overview of current understanding of the effects of acute substance intoxication and chronic pre-assault problematic substance use on symptoms of PTSD amongst individuals who were victims of sexual assault. METHODS: PsycINFO, EMBASE, and MEDLINE were searched using terms related to PTSD, sexual assault, and substance consumption. These yielded 2,121 articles, 268 of which were retrieved for more detailed evaluation and 13 of these met inclusion criteria and were appraised in full. RESULTS: Overall, the reviewed papers supported our hypothesis that acute substance intoxication and chronic pre-assault problematic substance use are associated with fewer initial PTSD symptoms but less improvement over time, resulting in slower overall PTSD recovery. They also highlighted post-assault characterological self-blame and negative social reactions as mediators of recovery in the context of pre-assault substance consumption. CONCLUSIONS: Acute substance intoxication and chronic pre-assault problematic substance use appear to have an impact on the development of PTSD symptoms amongst victims of sexual assault. The importance of developing early interventions and routine screening and assessment for PTSD and pre-assault substance consumption is emphasized. The limited research on male victims and on substances other than alcohol is highlighted.

Type: Article
Title: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Victims of Sexual Assault With Pre-assault Substance Consumption: A Systematic Review
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00092
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00092
Language: English
Additional information: © 2019 Gong, Kamboj and Curran. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: PTSD, sexual assault, substance use, intoxication, alcohol, self-blame, pre-assault alcohol use, social reaction
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10072186
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