Title

HELP-SEEKING BEHAVIORS AND COPING STYLES RELATED TO SEXUAL ASSAULT LABELLING

Presenter Information

SHAHZOR HASHIMFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Clinical Psychology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Esther Malm, Ph.D

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent, or is forced and against one’s will (RAINN, 2019). It includes rape, attempted rape, fondling or unwanted sexual touching and sexual acts of all kinds. People often feel shame and embarrassment after being sexually assaulted. Sexual assault can also cause distress that leads to maladjustment across social, emotional and psychological functioning. In addition, people who are sexually assaulted identify or become identified by either “Victim” or “Survivor” labels.

This study is interested in examining how people who identify themselves as victims or survivors cope with the aftermath of sexual assault, and seek help. Roth and Cohen (1986) describe two general ways in which people cope with stress: emotion-oriented coping or task-oriented coping. Help-seeking on the other hand, is an attempt to seek external assistance formally (e.g., a professional) or informally (e.g., friends and family; Rickwood & Thomas, 2012). It is therefore hypothesized that “survivors” would exhibit more help-seeking behavior and engage in more task oriented coping styles. Secondly “victims” would exhibit less help-seeking behavior and engage in more emotion-oriented coping styles.

The proposed sample size is 200. Data will be collected from multiple sources: SONA pool, MTurk and social media (Facebook, reddit etc.). Based on the hypotheses, regression analyses are proposed.

Findings from this study would have several implications. Firstly, it would provide insight into coping and help-seeking behavior patterns of individuals who have experienced sexual assault. Secondly, the results might indicate patterns associated with victim/survivor labelling.

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HELP-SEEKING BEHAVIORS AND COPING STYLES RELATED TO SEXUAL ASSAULT LABELLING

Sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent, or is forced and against one’s will (RAINN, 2019). It includes rape, attempted rape, fondling or unwanted sexual touching and sexual acts of all kinds. People often feel shame and embarrassment after being sexually assaulted. Sexual assault can also cause distress that leads to maladjustment across social, emotional and psychological functioning. In addition, people who are sexually assaulted identify or become identified by either “Victim” or “Survivor” labels.

This study is interested in examining how people who identify themselves as victims or survivors cope with the aftermath of sexual assault, and seek help. Roth and Cohen (1986) describe two general ways in which people cope with stress: emotion-oriented coping or task-oriented coping. Help-seeking on the other hand, is an attempt to seek external assistance formally (e.g., a professional) or informally (e.g., friends and family; Rickwood & Thomas, 2012). It is therefore hypothesized that “survivors” would exhibit more help-seeking behavior and engage in more task oriented coping styles. Secondly “victims” would exhibit less help-seeking behavior and engage in more emotion-oriented coping styles.

The proposed sample size is 200. Data will be collected from multiple sources: SONA pool, MTurk and social media (Facebook, reddit etc.). Based on the hypotheses, regression analyses are proposed.

Findings from this study would have several implications. Firstly, it would provide insight into coping and help-seeking behavior patterns of individuals who have experienced sexual assault. Secondly, the results might indicate patterns associated with victim/survivor labelling.