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Journal Article

Citation

Blayney JA, Read JP. J. Interpers. Violence 2018; 33(7): 1147-1168.

Affiliation

University at Buffalo, NY, USA.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2018, SAGE Publishing)

DOI

10.1177/0886260515614560

PMID

26590223

Abstract

Sexual assault (SA) is a potent psychological stressor, linked to harmful mental health outcomes in both the short- and long-term. Specific assault characteristics can add to the toxicity of SA events. Although research has assessed characteristics of the assault itself (e.g., force, penetration), few studies have examined the larger socioenvironmental context in which SA takes place. This was the purpose of the present study. Young adults (N = 220; 80% female; 54% current students) reported on their most recent SA during college. Cross-sectional associations were tested via structural equation modeling to determine the contributions of socioenvironmental context and assault characteristics in predicting event-related distress. Socioenvironmental context from the most recent assault included assault setting, intoxication at the time of the assault, perpetrator relationship, and prior consensual sexual experiences with the perpetrator. We also examined assault characteristics, including physical force and penetration. Participants reported how upsetting the most recent assault was (a) at the time it occurred and (b) currently.

RESULTS revealed differential patterns for socioenvironmental context and assault characteristics based on the timing of distress (past or present). Notably, many of the socioenvironmental factors showed associations with distress above and beyond the powerful effects of physical force and penetration. These findings have important implications for our understanding of the unique factors that contribute to and maintain psychological distress in sexually victimized young adults.


Language: en

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