Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychological Science



First Reader/Committee Chair

Hassija, Christina


Sexual assault (SA) is a prevalent health concern. Previous research indicates that the quality of social reactions received upon disclosure of SA greatly impacts the psychological adjustment of survivors (Ullman, 2000). Negative social reactions upon disclosure (e.g., victim-blaming) has been associated with greater self-blame and shame and may deter survivors from seeking mental health services. Presently, little research on survivors’ expectations of disclosure exists. The current study investigated whether expectations of disclosure mediate the relationship between shame and seeking mental health services. Participants completed the Trauma-Related Shame Inventory, Expectations of Disclosure Questionnaire, and the Disclosure Questionnaire. Results revealed shame predicted negative expectations of disclosure; b = 0.72, t (84) = 10.60, p < 0.001, 95% CI [0.58, 0.85]. Positive expectations of disclosure predicted disclosure to mental health professionals; b = 0.08, t (83) = 4.53, p < 0.001, 95% CI [0.0461, 0.1182], as did shame, b = 0.04, t (82) = 2.36, p < 0.05, 95% CI [0.01, 0.09]. Neither positive (b = -0.001, p > 0.05, 95% CI [-0.0209, 0.0095]) or negative expectations of disclosure (b = -0.02, p > 0.05, 95% CI [-0.05, 0.01]) mediated the relationship between trauma-related shame and disclosure to mental health professionals. Findings can lead to new approaches in crisis interventions for individuals who had been sexually assaulted.