Sexual violence and Australian women : A longitudinal analysis of psychosocial and behavioral outcomes

Journal article


Brunton, Robyn and Dryer, Rachel. (2022). Sexual violence and Australian women : A longitudinal analysis of psychosocial and behavioral outcomes. Social Science & Medicine. 292, p. Article 114334. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114334
AuthorsBrunton, Robyn and Dryer, Rachel
Abstract

Rationale
Sexual violence (SV) is associated with adverse psychosocial and behavioural outcomes with revictimization likely. However, there are significant gaps in the current literature in regard to (a) whether over time women's levels of distress/behaviour change, and (b) whether social support mediates the relationship between SV and adverse outcomes.

Methods and results
This study aimed to address these two issues by analysing data from the Australian Longitudinal Women's Health Survey, surveys 4 (2006) to 8 (2018). Using repeated-measures data analytic procedures we found that women who had suffered SV, in comparison to women with no SV history, had greater anxiety, depression, stress, a lower mental health-related quality of life and less life satisfaction. Moreover, their level of distress remained higher at all time points, in comparison to the other group. Women with a SV history were also more likely to suffer re-victimization, consume more cigarettes and illicit drugs than other women. Moreover, SV predicted all psychosocial outcomes (except life satisfaction) 12 years later, with social support mediating these relationships. SV predicted drug status; however social support did not mediate this relationship.

Conclusions
These findings suggest that for women who have experienced SV their distress levels remain elevated. The findings also provide additional insights into the long-term impact of SV in Australian women with social support being identified as a resource that may assist in reducing some of the negative psychological outcomes associated with SV.

Keywordssexual assault; sexual violence; rape; child abuse; intimate partner violence; mental health; substance abuse
Year2022
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Journal citation292, p. Article 114334
PublisherElsevier Ltd
ISSN0277-9536
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114334
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85115924564
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range1-10
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online20 Aug 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted19 Aug 2021
Deposited25 Feb 2022
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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