Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Experimental Psychology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Christina Hassija


Sexual assault has consistently been found to be associated with depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology. Research shows that self-blaming attributions are directly linked to distress (Walsh, & Foshee, 1998; Walsh & Bruce, 2011). More specifically, the type of self-blame (i.e., behavioral and characterological) an individual associates with their experienced sexual assault, may influence their perceptions of avoidability of future assault and post-assault recovery. However, the role of self-efficacy in the relationship between behavioral and characterological self-blame in PTSD sexual assault survivors has been unexamined. The purpose of the proposed study is to assess the influence of self-efficacy in the association between variants of self-blame and post-assault distress. The proposed study considers the critical relationship between self-efficacy and self-blame, and aims to evaluate how these factors can ultimately influence posttraumatic adjustment in sexual assault survivors. Results revealed positive associations between behavioral self-blame and depression (r = .28, p < .05). Positive associations were also found between characterological self-blame, PTSD (r =. 42, p < .001) and depression (r =. 50, p p < .001) and self-efficacy was positively related to PTSD and depression symptom severity (r = -.27, p < .05; r = -.54, p < .001). Mediation was found between characterological self-blame, self-efficacy and depression, b = .11; CI: .04 - .21. Findings for this study can help with implication for postassault interventions by creating opportunities for therapist to custom-tailor patient treatments to match the self-blame they most associate with. This may lead to treatments that are more effective.

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