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Journal Article


Pegram SE, Abbey A. J. Interpers. Violence 2016; ePub(ePub): ePub.


Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.


(Copyright © 2016, SAGE Publishing)






There are well-established associations between sexual assault victimization and deleterious psychological and physical health outcomes. The present study contributes to the emerging health disparities literature by examining similarities and differences in relationships between the severity of the sexual assault and health in a community sample of African American and Caucasian survivors. Although the overall pattern of relationships was expected to be comparable for all survivors, some associations were hypothesized to be stronger for African American survivors as compared with Caucasian survivors based on theories of chronic stress. Single, African American, and Caucasian women were recruited for a study of dating experiences through random digit dialing in one large metropolitan area. Participants who experienced a sexual assault since age 14 were included in this study (121 African American and 100 Caucasian women). Multigroup path analyses indicated that for both African American and Caucasian survivors, sexual assault severity was significantly positively associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and depressive symptoms were significantly positively associated with physical health symptoms. Among African American survivors, sexual assault severity affected physical health symptoms indirectly through its impact on depressive symptoms, and assault severity indirectly affected drinking problems through its impact on PTSD symptoms; these relationships were not found for Caucasian survivors. These findings highlight the need for additional research that focuses on health disparities in sexual assault survivors' recovery process, so that treatment programs address culturally relevant issues.

© The Author(s) 2016.

Language: en


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