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Mental Health Consequences of Sexual Assault

Part of the Mental Health and Illness Worldwide book series (MHIW)


Sexual assault is a traumatic experience known to impact multiple domains of a person’s health, including mental health. This chapter provides a comprehensive overview of the mental health consequences in sexual assault survivors as well as sheds insight into the evidence-based psychological interventions. A brief introduction provides a conceptual underpinning based on existing global literature. The common aftermath of any type of sexual assault and the substantial heterogeneity that exists in the type of assault experiences individuals go through have both been discussed, leading to a complex permutation of outcomes in the affected population. The section on intimate partner violence versus non-partner sexual violence underscores that the relationship with the perpetrator has a significant bearing on the experience and outcome of sexual assault. Specific details with regard to vulnerable populations, such as sexual minorities and people in conflict zones, have also been expounded upon, so as to emphasize that the sociocultural background of the survivors is also paramount in understanding their psychopathology. The section on mental health outcomes in adulthood of childhood sexual abuse survivors validates the fact that such assault can leave significant imprints on the individual’s personality and psychological well-being. After discussing the theoretical perspectives of these mental health consequences, the chapter culminates with an update on current practices in terms of effective evidence-based interventions with this vulnerable and distressed population.


  • Sexual assault
  • Abuse
  • Violence
  • Mental health outcomes
  • Psychological interventions
  • PTSD

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Correspondence to Veena A. Satyanarayana .

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© 2020 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

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Oberoi, N., Patil, D., Satyanarayana, V.A. (2020). Mental Health Consequences of Sexual Assault. In: Chandra, P., Herrman, H., Fisher, J., Riecher-Rössler, A. (eds) Mental Health and Illness of Women. Mental Health and Illness Worldwide. Springer, Singapore.

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