Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis




College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Suzanne C. Swan


Recent estimates indicate that 18.5% of heterosexual college students and 30.3% of sexual minority college students are victims of physical intimate partner violence (IPV; Edwards, Sylaska, Barry, et al., 2015). Research among adult women in oppositesex relationships has shown that once an individual is victimized by IPV she is subsequently at high risk for future IPV victimization. Re-victimization is associated with more severe physical and mental health consequences of IPV. No prior study has assessed the rate of re-victimization among sexual minority adults. Help-seeking behavior, which refers to accessing a range of sources of support (e.g., family and friends, law enforcement, mental health professionals), may mitigate many of the consequences of IPV, including re-victimization. However, no prior study has explored the effect of help-seeking on the re-victimization of sexual minorities. Results from this longitudinal study show that sexual minorities were approximately two times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to be victims of IPV. Sexual minority victims at the first study time point (T1) were, as compared to heterosexual victims, also at heightened risk for re-victimization one year later while controlling for severity of the violence at T1. Contrary to my expectations, sexual minority victims more often sought help than heterosexual ones. This may be due to the more severe IPV reported by sexual minorities. Help-seeking did not influence risk for re-victimization. Continued research on IPV revictimization and the help-seeking behavior of sexual minority victims of IPV is needed to better understand this phenomenon, which has substantial public health implications.


© 2016, Andrew T. Schramm