Sexual violence and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been linked to increased reports of distress and pain during the pelvic examination. Efforts to more fully characterize these reactions and identify core factors (i.e., beliefs about the examination) that may influence these reactions are warranted.This descriptive, cross-sectional study examines the relationship between sexual violence, PTSD, and women's negative reactions to the pelvic examination. Additional analyses highlight how maladaptive beliefs about the safety, necessity, and utility of the pelvic examination may contribute to these reactions. Materials andA total of 165 eligible women veterans were identified via medical record review and mailed a survey that assessed: (1) background information; (2) history of sexual violence; (3) current symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder; (4) fear, embarrassment, distress, and pain during the pelvic examination; and (5) core beliefs about the examination. Ninety women (55% response rate) completed the survey.Women with both sexual violence and PTSD reported the highest levels of examination related fear: chi(2) = 18.8, p < .001; embarrassment: chi(2) = 21.2, p < .001; and distress: chi(2) = 18.2, p < .001. Beliefs that the examination was unnecessary or unsafe or not useful were more commonly reported in this group and were associated with higher levels of examination-related fear and embarrassment.Women with sexual violence and PTSD find the pelvic examination distressing, embarrassing, and frightening. Efforts to develop interventions to help reduce distress during the examination are warranted.
View details for DOI 10.1089/jwh.2009.1673
View details for Web of Science ID 000279428800007
View details for PubMedID 20509787