Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Ora Lea Strickland, PhD

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Amy Paul-Ward, PhD

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Jean Hannan, PhD

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Deborah Sherman, PhD

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Asia Eaton, PhD

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member



Date of Defense



Background and Aims: High-risk sexual behaviors are more prevalent among female Veterans, than among women in the general population. Studies have demonstrated that this risk is associated with factors such as young age at enlistment into the military, history of sexual abuse, illicit drug use, multiple sex partners and history of military sexual trauma, inclusive of other forms of abuse. STIs and their consequences exact heavy financial burdens on the military Veterans’ services with millions of dollars spent treating STI-related illnesses, cognitive and functional disabilities, unplanned pregnancies, miscarriages and infertility. Despite the high prevalence of STIs in this population, there is a paucity of theory-guided research examining predictive factors of high risk sexual behaviors among them. No study has examined whether or not a hierarchical environment like the military impacts female Veterans’ sexual behaviors as they transition out of the military.

Purpose: To describe high-risk sexual behaviors and incidence of STIs in female military Veterans; and assess factors that may also predict high risk sex practices among them.

Methods: A descriptive, correlational design was utilized to obtain data from 221 female military Veterans in Florida. Measures included a demographic questionnaire, the Safer Sex Behavior Questionnaire, the Abuse Assessment Scale, the STD Knowledge Questionnaire, and the Social Dominance Orientation Scale. The study was guided by the Social Dominance Theory.

Results: Statistically significant difference was noted in Safer Sex Behavior (SSBQ) scores among people of different educational levels and races. There were also significant negative correlations between SSBQ scores, level of religiosity; and between STD Knowledge scores and level of religiosity. Women who were pregnant, economically dependent, and had high social obligations were at highest risk for STIs, with a prevalence rate of STIs almost 15% in the group.

Discussion: Screening for female Veterans must include abuse, economic dependence, social obligations, and level of religiosity.

Conclusions: This study has policy, education, and nursing implications, and lays the foundation for future comparative studies.



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Nursing Commons



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