Sexual trauma is an understudied but regrettably significant problem among male Veterans. As in women, sexual trauma often results in serious mental health consequences for men. Therefore, to guide potential future interventions in this important group, we investigated associations among self-efficacy, male rape myth acceptance, devaluation of emotions, and psychiatric symptom severity after male sexual victimization. We collected data from 1,872 Gulf War era Veterans who applied for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) disability benefits using standard mailed survey methods. The survey asked about history of childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault during the time of Gulf War I, and past-year sexual assault as well as Veterans' perceived self-efficacy, male rape myth acceptance, devaluation of emotions, PTSD, and depression symptoms. Structural equation modeling revealed that self-efficacy partially mediated the association between participants' sexual trauma history and psychiatric symptoms. Greater male rape myth acceptance and greater devaluation of emotions were directly associated with lower self-efficacy, but these beliefs did not moderate associations between sexual trauma and self-efficacy. In this population, sexual trauma, male rape myth acceptance, and devaluation of emotions were associated with lowered self-efficacy, which in turn was associated with more severe psychiatric symptoms. Implications for specific, trauma-focused treatment are discussed.
- Rape myths
- Sexual trauma