Something to talk about: An examination of predictors of immediate versus delayed sexual assault disclosure

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ashlyn Gollehon Swartout (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Jacquelyn W. White

Abstract: Despite the consistent findings on the rates of sexual assault among young women--with nearly 50% experiencing at least one unwanted sexual experience in their lifetime--there are a small number of supportive sources where sexual assault survivors can go to receive nonjudgmental aid. Thus, almost one-third of women wait more than a year to talk to someone about their assault experiences. Little research has addressed factors believed to influence disclosure directly; therefore, this study was designed to examine factors that affect women's first disclosures about sexual assault. Participants were 144 women who completed an online survey that included measures hypothesized to play a role in the timing of sexual assault disclosure. Models including variables related to world beliefs, social norms, assault characteristics, and interpersonal variables were fit to the data. Results of path analyses indicate that a model including world beliefs, certain social norms, individual characteristics, assault characteristics, and assault impact fit the data best. These findings represent the initial attempt to elucidate the process of first disclosures of sexual assault and highlight the importance of focusing future research on this area of inquiry.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Delayed disclosure, Disclosure, Rape, Sexual assault
Rape $x Research
Rape $x Psychological aspects

Email this document to