Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Lilly, Michelle M.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Sexual abuse victims--Psychology; Blaming the victim; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Sex crimes--Psychological aspects


This study examined the relations between perceived social support (PSS), negative social interactions (NSI), self-blame, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and gender in adult sexual assault survivors. Participants (N = 315) were recruited from introductory psychology courses at a Midwestern university and from Amazon Mechanical Turk, and had to report at least one sexual assault experience since the age of fourteen in order to be eligible. After being screened for eligibility, participants completed a series of self-report questionnaires online, and received either course credits or a small monetary sum for their participation. As hypothesized, self-blame partially explained the relation between PSS and PTSD in the total sample, and partially explained the relation between PSS and PTSD. Similar results were found for NSI. These two models were not equivalent by gender, as expected. Post-hoc analyses suggest that PSS may have more influence on PTSD for women than for men, and vice versa for NSI. Additionally, self-blame was a significant predictor of PTSD in men but not in women. Clinical implications and future research directions are discussed.


Advisors: Michelle M. Lilly.||Committee members: Holly Orcutt; Karen White.||Includes bibliographical references.


vii, 98 pages




Northern Illinois University

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