Individuals who conform strongly to masculine norms tend to have more mental health problems relative to other individuals. However, knowledge about the contribution of conformity to masculine norms to military-related posttraumatic sequelae among women combat veterans is sparse. This study examines the contribution of conformity to masculine norms to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD symptoms among women veterans as well as the mediating roles of coping strategies in these possible associations. A volunteer, community sample of Israeli women combat veterans (n = 885) and non-combat veterans (n = 728) responded to on-line self-report questionnaires in a cross-sectional study. Combat veterans reported higher levels of conformity to masculine norms and PTSD symptoms, but not complex PTSD symptoms and coping strategies, as compared to non-combat veterans. Moreover, among combat and noncombat veterans, conformity to masculine norms was associated with higher levels of PTSD and complex PTSD symptoms, beyond adverse childhood experiences and combat exposure. Importantly, conformity to masculine norms was indirectly associated with higher levels of PTSD and complex PTSD symptoms through maladaptive coping strategies, for both combat and noncombat veterans. Overall, women combat veterans were more likely to endorse masculine norms that are associated with higher levels of PTSD and complex PTSD symptoms. Moreover, maladaptive coping strategies might serve as mechanisms that link conformity to masculine norms to military-related posttraumatic consequences and warrants further investigation.
- Complex PTSD
- Conformity to masculine norms
- Women veterans
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Gender Studies
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology