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Keywords:

  • posttraumatic stress;
  • social reactions;
  • sexual assault;
  • disclosure

Abstract

Demographics, assault variables, and postassault responses were analyzed as correlates of PTSD symptom severity in a sample of 323 sexual assault victims. Regression analyses indicated that less education, greater perceived life threat, and receipt of more negative social reactions upon disclosing assault were each related to greater PTSD symptom severity. Ethnic minority victims reported more negative social reactions from others. Victims of more severe sexual victimization reported fewer positive, but more negative reactions from others. Greater extent of disclosure of the assault was related to more positive and fewer negative social reactions. Telling more persons about the assault was related to more negative and positive reactions. Implications of these results for developing contextual theoretical models of rape-related PTSD are discussed.