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Abstract

This study investigated the links between sexual assault experiences, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and adverse physical health outcomes among undergraduate women. Existing research has demonstrated that posttraumatic stress disorder mediates the relationship between trauma exposure and physical health in general, but this has yet to be tested for sexual assault specifically. Using structural equation modeling, support was found for a model in which posttraumatic stress symptom severity partially mediates the association between sexual assault severity and self-reported health outcomes. An alternative model using depression symptoms did not meet the criteria for mediation. Implications for the physical health of sexual assault survivors are discussed.