Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Gina Owens

Committee Members

Dawn Szymanski, Kirsten Gonzalez


The present study examined romantic relational outcomes among individuals who have experienced unwanted or forced sexual contact. Specifically, we explored the relationship between disclosure of sexual trauma to a romantic partner and relationship satisfaction among a sample (N = 214) of community participants, and examined whether PTSD clusters, partner reactions, and perceived partner responsiveness mediated that relationship. Individuals were recruited via announcements and flyers from community organizations and advertisements on social media. Participants completed a number of measures that assessed level of disclosure, PTSD symptoms, partner reactions to disclosure, perceived partner responsiveness, and relationship satisfaction in regards to the romantic partner to whom they most recently disclosed their sexual trauma history. Relationship satisfaction was significantly, positively correlated with trauma disclosure, positive partner reactions, and perceived partner responsiveness, and significantly, negatively correlated with negative partner reactions and the PTSD clusters of avoidance and negative alterations in cognitions and mood (NACM). Trauma disclosure had a significant, indirect effect on relationship satisfaction via positive partner reactions and perceived partner responsiveness. Findings from this study can be utilized to inform clinical interventions and guide future research for individuals who have experienced sexual trauma.

Keywords: sexual trauma disclosure, PTSD clusters, partner reactions, perceived partner responsiveness, relationship satisfaction

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