Psychological Outcomes of Within-Group Sexual Violence: Evidence of Cultural Betrayal


Cultural betrayal trauma theory is a new framework for understanding trauma-related mental health outcomes in immigrant and minority populations. The purpose of the current study is to empirically test cultural betrayal trauma theory. We hypothesized that the association between within-group sexual violence and mental health outcomes would be stronger for minorities. Participants (N = 368) were minority and majority college students, who completed online measures of sexual violence victimization and mental health outcomes. A MANOVA revealed that the link between within-group sexual violence and total trauma symptoms, depression, sexual abuse sequelae, sleep disturbance, and sexual problems was stronger for minorities. This study provides evidence for cultural betrayal trauma theory, as the findings suggest that outcomes from the same experience—within-group sexual violence—is affected by minority status. This work has implications for how mental health is understood, investigated, and treated in immigrant and minority populations.

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Correspondence to Jennifer M. Gómez.

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Gómez, J.M., Freyd, J.J. Psychological Outcomes of Within-Group Sexual Violence: Evidence of Cultural Betrayal. J Immigrant Minority Health 20, 1458–1467 (2018).

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  • Cultural betrayal trauma theory
  • Rape
  • Dissociation
  • Trauma symptom checklist
  • College students