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29-07-2016 | Uitgave 4/2016

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 4/2016

Association between Sexual Victimization History, Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms, and Women’s Decision Making in Risky Social Situations: the Moderating Effect of Ethnicity

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment > Uitgave 4/2016
Auteurs:
Elizabeth A. Yeater, Tim Hoyt, Kari A. Leiting, Gabriela Lopez

Abstract

This study evaluated the association between sexual victimization history, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and women’s decision making in social situations, and whether ethnicity moderated these associations. Participants were 334 undergraduate women between ages 18 and 24. The sample was diverse ethnically (Non-Hispanic white, n = 177; Hispanic, n = 157) and composed primarily of freshman, single women. Stimuli were written vignettes describing social situations that varied in their degree of victimization risk. Participants completed tasks that assessed their ability to generate and select responses to the situations, as well as their perceived efficacy in executing responses. They then completed the Sexual Experiences Survey to quantify the severity of victimization experiences and the PTSD Checklist – Civilian Version to measure symptoms of posttraumatic stress. Structural equation modeling (SEM) of women’s decision making revealed that more severe victimization history and greater posttraumatic stress symptoms were associated with less effective response generation, and greater posttraumatic stress symptoms was associated with reduced perceived efficacy in executing effective responses. Ethnicity also moderated the effect of victimization history on perceived efficacy. For Non-Hispanic White women, more severe victimization history was related to less effective response generation and perceived efficacy when considering responses, while for Hispanic women, victimization history was unrelated to both decision making processes. This study emphasizes the importance of decision making as it relates to women’s victimization risk. These processes, as well as the influence of ethnicity on women’s decision making, appear relevant to consider when developing preventative interventions for college women.

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