Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Psychology

Sub-Department

College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Suzanne C. Swan

Abstract

Objective: The current study sought to compare Black and White college women’s experiences following sexual assault or physical intimate partner violence (IPV) while attending a predominately White institution (PWI). Prevalence rates, depression, academic effects, binge drinking, and help-seeking among victims was compared by race.

Method: Black (N= 435) and White (N= 4,313) college women from 3 large PWIs in the United States completed online surveys. The survey included questions about race, sexual assault, physical IPV, depression, academic outcomes of victimization, binge drinking, and help-seeking.

Results: Black women were more likely to experience physical IPV than White women, but the groups did not differ in sexual assault prevalence. Among victims, White women were more likely to report binge drinking than Black women. Lastly, Black women were less likely to seek any help following sexual assault (35.1% of Black women sought help vs. 49.9% of White women).

Conclusion: By not seeking any help, victims may be at greater risk for revictimization and other negative consequences. The next step for researchers should be understanding ways to get survivors the help they need and understanding what barriers to help-seeking may be unique for Black women. Furthermore, campus service providers should work to make sure all campus resources are accessible and inclusive options for all students regardless of race.

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