Date of Award

12-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Deborah P. Welsh

Committee Members

Rebecca Bolen, Gina Owens, Cheryl Travis

Abstract

Non-stranger sexual assault commonly occurs on college campuses across the country, placing college females at risk for the negative consequences, including increased psychopathology, social difficulties, and academic failure. Research suggests that college women with a history of sexual abuse are often revictimized by acquaintances during their college experience. The mechanisms underlying the connection between sexual abuse and adult sexual assault remain unclear. The present study examines the indirect effect of shame and traditional gender role beliefs on heterosexual females’ behavioral response based on history of sexual trauma. Results indicate that neither shame nor benevolent sexist ideals mediate the relationship between sexual abuse history and indirect/passive behavioral responding during a non-stranger sexual assault. Implications for sexual assault prevention programs and therapeutic interventions for college women are discussed.

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