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Keywords:

  • African American women;
  • depression;
  • posttraumatic stress disorder;
  • substance abuse;
  • suicidal ideation;
  • sexual assault;
  • transgenerational trauma;
  • multicultural feminist therapy

A substantial body of research documents the mental health consequences of sexual assault including, but not limited to, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance use, and suicidality. Far less attention has been given to the mental health effects of sexual assault for ethnic minority women or women living in poverty. Given African American women’s increased risk for sexual assault and increased risk for persistent poverty, the current study explores the relationship between income and mental health effects within a sample of 413 African American sexual assault survivors. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that after controlling for childhood sexual abuse there were positive relationships between poverty and mental health outcomes of depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and illicit drug use. There was no significant relationship between poverty and suicidal ideation. Counseling and research implications are discussed.