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Evaluation of an information-processing model following sexual assault


Author(s)Littleton, Heather L. and Amie Grills-Taquechel
Title Evaluation of an information-processing model following sexual assault
Source Psychological Trauma, Theory, Research, Practice and Policy,2011, Vol 3, No 4, pp 421-429
Date 2011
Document type Journal article
Coverage USA

Participants in this study were recruited from a university to complete an online survey investigating sexual assault victims' response to the experience. Measures included sexual abuse items; sexual assault items, for those assaulted over the age of 14 years; assault characteristic; PTSD symptoms; depression; coping strategies and alcohol use. The majority of the participants reported that some type of violent tactic was used and 49% reported that they had engaged in binge drinking. A large proportion, 32% of victims, showed PTSD symptoms. Results demonstrated that participants' coping patterns fitted into three expected response patterns: assimilated, accommodated/accommodating, and over accommodated. Over accommodation was the most common response pattern among participants. These women reported very high levels of avoidance coping strategies and less utilisation of approach coping. They also were the lowest functioning group, reporting the highest level of depression and PTSD. Over accommodated victims also reported high rates of revictimisation. Implications for service delivery and future research are discussed.

Keywords Sexual violence; sexual abuse; adjustment; information processing; coping strategies; PTSD; depression
Topic Sexual assault