OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

The Quality of Social Reactions Received upon Disclosure Latina Survivors of Sexual Assault


Sandra Estrada


High rates of sexual assault (SA) have been documented among college populations (Mellins et al., 2017), and survivors of SA are at an increased risk for negative mental and physical health outcomes (Villarreal, 2014). Receiving negative social reactions upon disclosure of SA has been associated with poorer outcomes, such as greater posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) severity (Ullman & Peter-Hagene, 2014). Despite the vast research on SA survivors, there is an underrepresentation of Latino samples, and it is unclear if Latina survivors may differ from their non-Latina counterparts in their willingness to disclose, the quality of reactions they receive, and the potential consequences of receiving negative responses. The primary goal of the present study was to examine differences in rates of disclosure between Latina and non-Latina SA college-aged SA survivors. Our second objective was to examine the relationships between degree of disclosure of SA to informal and formal support sources, PTSD symptom severity, and social reactions upon disclosure among Latina and non-Latina survivors. We expect that Latina SA survivors would report greater disclose to friends over family or other formal support services compared to non-Latina SA survivors. We also expect that negative social reactions regarding the SA, as opposed to positive social reactions, would be associated with higher levels of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Data collection is ongoing. Preliminary analyses have shown positive associations between negative social reactions and PTSD symptoms among Latina survivors of SA. Results are expected to have significant implications for treatment interventions for victims of sexual victimization.

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