Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Deborah P. Welsh

Committee Members

Cheryl Travis, Gina Owens

Abstract

Evidence suggests that female victims of sexual abuse are revictimized more often than non-victimized females, placing them at risk for the negative consequences, including increased psychopathology, medical issues and interpersonal difficulties. Research is needed to protect childhood sexual abuse survivors from the risk of further sexual assault. The present study examines if victim status and perception of social costs inhibit heterosexual females’ perception of risk and behavioral response. Results indicate that victim status affects the perception of risk and that sexually abused women in a high social cost condition use less assertive behavioral responses. Implications of these findings for sexual assault prevention and interventions are discussed.

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