Examining sexual assault disclosure and non-disclosure using an attachment lens

Date
11/3/2021
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Abstract

Research regarding non-disclosure among sexual assault victims remains limited with primary focus on non-disclosure to formal networks. The purpose of this study was to examine interpersonal factors related to disclosure and non-disclosure following sexual assault and potential outcomes associated with sexual assault disclosure to informal networks. Participants were recruited from social media sites and academic listservs. A total of 240 cisgender women completed an author-generated demographic questionnaire and six instruments online. Women with an insecure attachment orientation experienced higher rates of posttraumatic symptomology and overall wellness than women with a secure attachment orientation. Further, women who disclosed at higher rates experienced higher posttraumatic outcomes and higher wellness outcomes than non-disclosers. Analyses additionally revealed that positive social reactions and unsupportive social reactions to sexual assault disclosure are related to psychological wellness outcomes. Implications for theory, practice, policy, and research are provided.

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Keywords
Sexual assault, Sexual assault disclosure, Attachment, Sexual assault nondisclosure, Social reactions
Citation