The Impact of Disclosure on Resilience Resources During Help-seeking for Sexual Assault

Rachel E. Shor

Major Professor: Lauren B Cattaneo, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: Keith Renshaw, Sarah Fischer

David J. King Hall, #2013
May 08, 2018, 01:00 PM to 03:00 PM


Extensive research has been conducted to understand factors that prevent psychological help-seeking following sexual assault, especially among vulnerable populations such as college students, women living in poverty, and multi-racial women (e.g., Kilpatrick et al., 2007; Patterson, Greeson, Campbell, 2009). Overwhelmingly, this body of research assumes that (1) in order to connect with help-seeking survivors must disclose their USE and/or the impact it had on their lives; and (2) that because distress impels survivors to seek help, then efficacy should be measured by symptom reduction. As a result, disclosure is often assessed in a yes/no dichotomy, with little discussion about a continuum of information sharing during the process of help-seeking, and the relationship between the processes of help-seeking and resilience are unknown. This study will add to scholarship by more closely examining the relationship between disclosure during help-seeking for sexual violence and psychological health. Paper 1 will assess a continuum of disclosure and consider how survivors may vary the type (e.g., reporting unhealthy coping) and amount of information shared during help-seeking. Paper 2 will add to the field's understanding by exploring the effect disclosure on survivors’ resilience resources. These papers will yield a more nuanced picture of how sexual assault survivors make decisions to disclose during help seeking, and how those decisions impact their psychological health.