Trauma-informed exercise for women survivors of sexual violence

Michelle Pebole, Robyn L. Gobin, Katherine S. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Compared to their male counterparts, women experience alarmingly high rates of sexual violence (SV). Nearly 20% of women in the USA have been victims of SV, and prevalence of sexual assault among female service members is reported to be even higher, up to 50%. SV results in negative health outcomes like posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, obesity, poor body image, and pain-related disability. Exercise has been shown to positively impact both mental and physical health outcomes in populations experiencing posttraumatic symptoms, yet women survivors of SV are often excluded from exercise trials in trauma-affected populations. The purpose of this paper is to comment on the importance of incorporating women-specific trauma-informed principles in the content and delivery of exercise interventions in trauma-affected populations, particularly as it relates to SV. Researchers discuss the implications of female-specific and trauma-informed exercise considerations for SV survivors. This commentary highlights the need for trauma-informed implementation efforts and outcome measurements in exercise interventions involving women affected by SV. Researchers call for (a) increased qualitative work on trauma-specific implementation efforts across exercise intervention domains and (b) increased assessment of trauma-specific outcomes in exercise trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-691
Number of pages6
JournalTranslational behavioral medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 16 2021


  • Gender
  • Health promotion
  • Implementation
  • Physical activity
  • Trauma-informed care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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