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Keywords:

  • sexual assault;
  • social support;
  • meta-analysis

Abstract

We evaluated the association of sexual assault history with later social support, operationalized as network size, marital status, presence of a partner, frequency of network contacts, and emotional support from friends and family, from spouse, and from partner. Data came from six independent general population surveys (pooled N = 9,865) whose results were summarized using meta-analysis. People who had been sexually assaulted were less likely than others to he married (OR = 0.75. 95% CI = 0.65, 0.87) or to report at least weekly contact with friends and relatives (OR = 0.48,95% CI = 0.31, 0.75), and reported less emotional support from friends and family (OR = 0.72,95% CI = 0.58,0.89) and spouse (OR = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.54, 0.82). Results were consistent across studies, genders, and ethnic groups. Circumstances of sexual assault were sometimes related to social support.