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The continuum of sexual trauma: An examination of stalking and sexual assault in former US service members

APA Citation:

Kintzle, S., Schuyler, A. C., Alday-Mejia, E., & Castro, C. A. (2019). The continuum of sexual trauma: An examination of stalking and sexual assault in former US service members. Military Psychology, 31(6), 474-480. https://doi.org/10.1080/08995605.2019.1664367

Abstract Created by REACH:

Stalking behaviors (e.g., being followed) can create an atmosphere conducive to sexual abuse (e.g., unwanted or forced sexual contact). The purpose of this study was to examine retrospective survey reports of 1,037 veterans about their experiences of being stalked and/or sexually abused during their military service. The study found that women were more likely to report being stalked, but men who reported being stalked were at a much higher risk of being a victim of sexual abuse.



Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:


Subject Affiliation:



Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)
Aged (65 yrs & older)
Very old (85 yrs & older)


Cross-Sectional Study
Quantitative Study
Secondary Analysis


Kintzle, Sara, Schuyler, Ashley C., Alday-Mejia, Eva, Castro, Carl A.


The experience of stalking is an understudied yet essential factor in the prevention of sexual violence. Along with the devastating impact stalking can have on physical and psychological health, stalking can also act along a continuum of harm, creating environments that are conducive to sexual assault. The purpose of the study was to explore incidents of stalking in individuals who served in the US military, as well as the increased risk of reporting sexual assault in those who also report experiencing stalking. Data were collected on 1,035 Chicago, IL Veterans who participated in a large 2016 needs assessment study. Stalking during military service was reported by approximately 35% of Veterans in the sample. Among men, experiences of stalking during service conferred nearly 18 times greater odds of reporting MSA and a 5 times greater risk among women. Results demonstrate concerning rates of stalking experiences within the sample and indicate individuals who experience stalking may be at increased risk of experiencing sexual assault. Sexual assault prevention should move toward the inclusion of preventing, recognizing, and reporting of stalking behaviors in an effort not only to address the occurrence of stalking, but to reduce escalating behaviors along the sexual trauma continuum.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Taylor & Francis

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

School of Social Work, University of Southern California, SK
College of Public Health and Human Services, Oregon State University, ACS
School of Social Work, University of Southern California, EAM
School of Social Work, University of Southern California, CAC


military, sexual assault, stalking, veterans

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REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary


McCormick Foundation

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