Future Directions

Although the number of mental health and substance use studies that focus on or include women service members has grown, the current body of research specific to military women’s mental health and substance use is limited. There is a lack of literature on treatment modalities and outcomes for female service members and there are limited studies that evaluated female service members’ perception of the quality of the mental health care they received. Recommended future directions for research specific to female service members include the following:

Prevalence, Treatment Utilization, and Preferences:

  • Specific mental health prevalence rates with full demographic information

  • Explicit adjustment disorder and personality disorder diagnoses prevalence rates

  • Gender-specific treatment utilization, preferences and retention


  • Specific depression subtype prevalence rates

  • Relationship between deployment and/or combat experiences and depression

  • Treatment outcomes and preferences including use of anti-depressant medications

  • Relationship between deployment, exposure to trauma including sexual assault, and perinatal depression

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

  • Gender-specific risk factors for PTSD

  • Gender-specific treatment outcomes and preferences

Anxiety Disorder:

  • Specific anxiety subtype prevalence rates

  • Gender-specific treatment outcomes and preferences


  • Relationship between suicidal ideation or suicide attempts and the experience of sexual assault or sexual harassment while serving in the military

  • Gender-specific treatment outcomes for suicidal ideation

Substance Use Disorder:

  • Gender-specific treatment outcomes including medication assisted therapy

  • Gender-specific treatment preferences

Additional Mental Health and Physical Health Conditions:

  • Eating disorder prevalence and their co-morbidities

  • Sleep-wake disorder prevalence and treatment