Sexual Orientation, Race, and Trauma as Predictors of Sexual Assault Recovery

Abstract

Sexual minorities and racial minorities experience greater negative impact following sexual assault. We examined recovery from sexual assault among women who identified as heterosexual and bisexual across racial groups. A community sample of women (N = 905) completed three yearly surveys about sexual victimization, recovery outcomes, race group, and sexual minority status. Bisexual women and Black women reported greater recovery problems. However, Black women improved more quickly on depression symptoms than non-Black women. Finally, repeated adult victimization uniquely undermined survivors’ recovery, even when controlling for child sexual abuse. Sexual minority and race status variables and their intersections with revictimization play roles in recovery and should be considered in treatment protocols for sexual assault survivors.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge Mark Relyea, Cynthia Najdowski, Liana Peter-Hagene, Amanda Vasquez, Meghna Bhat, Rene Bayley, Gabriela Lopez, Farnaz Mohammad-Ali, Saloni Shah, Susan Zimmerman, Diana Acosta, Shana Dubinsky, Brittany Tolar, Hira Rehman, Joanie Noble, Sabina Skupien, Nava Lalehzari, Justyna Ciechonska, and Edith Zarco for assistance with data collection.

The research was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant R01 #17429 to Sarah E. Ullman.

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Correspondence to Rannveig Sigurvinsdottir.

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Sigurvinsdottir, R., Ullman, S.E. Sexual Orientation, Race, and Trauma as Predictors of Sexual Assault Recovery. J Fam Viol 31, 913–921 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-015-9793-8

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Keywords

  • Sexual assault
  • Revictimization
  • Sexual minorities
  • Racial minorities
  • Psychological outcomes