Sexual Assault Among Women in College: Immediate and Long-Term Associations With Mental Health, Psychosocial Functioning, and Romantic Relationships

Karen Rothman, Emily Georgia Salivar, McKenzie K. Roddy, S. Gabe Hatch, Brian Doss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The current study sought to examine immediate and long-term consequences of college sexual assault (C-SA) among women with no prior sexual assault history. While much is known regarding the short-term negative impact of C-SA, the current study examines whether C-SA is associated with immediate academic and psychosocial consequences as well as long-term poorer mental health (depression, posttraumatic stress [PTS], anxiety) and interpersonal functioning (relationship quality, sexual and emotional intimacy). In addition, the current study explores potential moderators of these associations, including race, the nature of the assault, resulting injury, relation to perpetrator, and whether the assault was reported. A stratified design was used comparing women who experienced C-SA (n = 201) to women with no C-SA history (n = 203) controlling for age, education, race, and ethnicity. Results from a series of repeated-measures analyses of variance (ANOVAs) demonstrated that across race and ethnicity, women with a history of C-SA reported lower grade-point averages, more missed classes, and fewer serious romantic relationships in college following the assault. Furthermore, results from a series of linear and logistic regression revealed that approximately 9 years later, women who experienced C-SA reported greater symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTS as well as lower emotional and sexual intimacy. These associations differed by a number of assault variables (assault type, relation to perpetrator, amount of fear reported, physical injuries sustained, whether the assault was reported, whether medical treatment was sought). The current study further confirms the significant and pervasive impact of C-SA associated with women’s health and functioning, warranting further intervention to both reduce the incidence of C-SA and expand the reach of existing mental health interventions to survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • academic functioning
  • college sexual assault
  • mental health
  • rape
  • relationship functioning
  • sexual assault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Sexual Assault Among Women in College: Immediate and Long-Term Associations With Mental Health, Psychosocial Functioning, and Romantic Relationships'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this