Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Experimental Psychology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Hassija, Christina


Childhood sexual assault (CSA) refers to a sexual act that is imposed on a child or adolescent who lacks the emotional capacity, maturity, and cognitive development to understand what they are engaging in, and is incapable or unwilling to give consent. Many individuals who experience CSA also experience adult sexual assault, such as rape. To date, there is limited research that has examined early maladaptive schemas (EMS) and CSA, and no research that examines the relationship between CSA, EMS, and revictimization. The present study examined EMS as mediators of revictimization and mental health outcomes (i.e., depression and PTSD) among 263 college women who experienced CSA. Participants completed the Sexual Experiences Survey (SES-LFV; Koss et al., 2007) which assesses victimization and perpetration of unwanted sexual experiences, the Young Schema Questionnaire (YSQ-SF: Young, 1998) to measure early maladaptive schemas, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist 5, a brief self-report instrument consisting of 20 items that reflect the symptoms of PTSD outlined in DSM-5, and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CESD-R; Radloff, 1977) is a brief self-report instrument used to measure symptoms of depression.

As hypothesized, CSA was positively correlated with revictimization. CSA was correlated with EMS, specifically, emotional deprivation, mistrust/abuse, social isolation, defectiveness/shame, and self-sacrifice, but not abandonment. Surprisingly, EMS did not mediate the relationship between CSA and revictimization. EMS mediated the relationship between CSA and mental health outcomes, such as, depression and PTSD. EMS social isolation mediated the relationship between CSA and depression symptoms and EMS mistrust/abuse, social isolation, and self-sacrifice mediates the relationship between CSA and PTSD. In conclusion, our findings could be used to further investigate what appropriate early childhood interventions could possibly be used to address and treat early maladaptive schemas.