Sex differences in experiences of multiple traumas and mental health problems in the UK Biobank cohort

Emma Yapp, Tom Booth, Katrina Davis, Jonathan Coleman, Louise M. Howard, Gerome Breen, Stephani L. Hatch, Matthew Hotopf, Sian Oram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Experiences of reported trauma are common and are associated with a range of mental health problems. Sex differences in how reported traumas are experienced over the life course in relation to mental health require further exploration.
157,358 participants contributed data for the UK Biobank Mental Health Questionnaire (MHQ). Stratified Latent Class Analysis (LCA) was used to analyse combinations of reported traumatic experiences in males and females separately, and associations with mental health.
In females, five trauma classes were identified: a low-risk class (58.6%), a childhood trauma class (13.5%), an intimate partner violence class (12.9%), a sexual violence class (9.1%), and a high-risk class (5.9%). In males, a three-class solution was preferred: a low-risk class (72.6%), a physical and emotional trauma class (21.9%), and a sexual violence class (5.5%). In comparison to the low-risk class in each sex, all trauma classes were associated with increased odds of current depression, anxiety, and hazardous/harmful alcohol use after adjustment for covariates. The high-risk class in females and the sexual violence class in males produced significantly increased odds for recent psychotic experiences.
There are sex differences in how reported traumatic experiences co-occur across a lifespan, with females at the greatest risk. However, reporting either sexual violence or multiple types of trauma was associated with increased odds of mental health problems for both males and females. Findings emphasise the public mental health importance of identifying and responding to both men and women’s experiences of trauma, including sexual violence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1819-1831
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Sex differences in experiences of multiple traumas and mental health problems in the UK Biobank cohort'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this