|Self-reported history of sexual coercion and rape negatively impacts resilience to suicide among women students|
|Segal DL. Death Stud. 2009; 33(9): 848-855.|
|Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, P.O. Box 7150, Colorado Springs, CO 80933-7150, USA. email@example.com|
|(Copyright © 2009, Informa - Taylor and Francis Group)|
|A substantial literature has documented that sexual abuse relates to suicidal behaviors but relatively less is known about resilience to suicide, especially cognitive deterrents to suicide. The present study investigated the effects of a history of sexual victimization on reasons for living. Female participants (N = 138; M age = 24.4 years; SD = 7.3 years; range = 18 to 53 years; 79% Caucasian) completed the Sexual Experiences Survey (SES) and the Reasons for Living (RFL) Inventory. According to SES responses, participants were classified into 5 mutually exclusive groups: no victimization, sexual contact, sexual coercion, attempted rape, and rape. Analyses of variance showed that degree of sexual victimization had a significant effect on the RFL Total scale and 2 subscales (Survival and Coping Beliefs; Moral Objections). The general pattern was that mean RFL scores in the no victimization group were significantly higher than the mean scores in the sexual coercion and rape groups. An implication is that having a history of sexual victimization, especially sexual coercion and rape, limits one's later reasons for not committing suicide. Bolstering these modifiable deterrents to suicide should be part of suicide prevention efforts among at-risk women.