Level of postassault sexual functioning in rape and incest victims


In a systematic study, 372 sexual assault survivors and 99 women with no history of sexual assault were interviewed with regard to their sexual histories to determine the incidence and types of sexual dysfunctions in these two samples. The women also completed the Sexual Arousability Inventory. Of the sexual assault survivors, 58.6% of the women were experiencing sexual dysfunctions, with 71% of them reporting that their sexual assaults were related to their development of sexual problems. In contrast, only 17.2% of the nonassaulted women reported experiencing any sexual problems. Differences in the types of sexual problems experienced by the two samples are noted, as are treatment implications. The sensitivity of the Sexual Arousability Inventory to assault-related sexual dysfunctions was affected by the educational level of the sexual assault survivors.

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This research was funded in part by Research Grant MH-32982-03 from the National Institute of Mental Health. The data analysis was supported in part by Mental Health Clinical Research Center Grant MH-30906-04 from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Project Coordinator of the Victim Treatment and Research Clinic at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York.

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Becker, J.V., Skinner, L.J., Abel, G.G. et al. Level of postassault sexual functioning in rape and incest victims. Arch Sex Behav 15, 37–49 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01542303

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Key words

  • sexual assault survivors (victims)
  • sexual dysfunctions
  • Sexual Arousability Inventory