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Journal Article

Citation

Graham AC, Mallinson RK, Krall JR, Annan SL. J. Interpers. Violence 2019; ePub(ePub): ePub.

Affiliation

James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2019, SAGE Publishing)

DOI

10.1177/0886260519884689

PMID

31679448

Abstract

Undergraduate women are at high risk of experiencing sexual assault during their college years. Research has established a strong link between sexual victimization and psychological distress. Although the relationship between sexual victimization and distress has been established, little is known about how the use of university-affiliated sexual assault resources influences mental health outcomes for survivors. The aims of this cross-sectional study were to describe the characteristics of women who used campus survivor resources following a sexual assault during college, examine correlates of campus resource use, and examine correlates and predictors of mental health of women who have been sexually assaulted during college. An online anonymous survey was sent to undergraduate women at two public universities in a mid-Atlantic state. Participants were female, undergraduate students (N = 362) who had been sexually assaulted during their time at college. Few women (n = 98, 27.1%) used campus resources following a sexual assault. We found significant relationships between participants' use of campus survivor resources and experiencing a sexual assault prior to entering college, experiencing more severe sexual assaults, acknowledging the assault as a rape, feeling more self-blame, and experiencing more psychological distress. Campus resource use was significantly associated with poorer mental health outcomes. The cross-sectional nature of this study limited our ability to explore the reason for this. Further research is needed to explore the role campus resources play in supporting survivors during the recovery process. Given the high rate of sexual assaults on college campuses and the known negative psychological impact of sexual assault, it is imperative that campuses offer resources that are effective in meeting the needs of survivors.


Language: en

Keywords

mental health and violence; reporting/disclosure; sexual assault; support seeking

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