Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Rape; Sex; Risk-taking (Psychology);


Sexual assault survivors experience a variety of adverse psychological and behavioral outcomes after their assault, such as engagement in sexual risk behavior (Testa, Hoffman, & Livingston, 2010). Previous research has reported risk factors among sexual assault survivors, such as survivors’ self-reported insecure attachment (Oshri, Sutton, Clay-Warner, & Miller, 2015), difficulties with emotion regulation (Walsh, DiLillo, & Messman-Moore, 2012), and substance use coping (Ullman, Relyea, PeterHagene, & Vasquez, 2013). Given that sexual risk behavior is also associated with these variables (e.g., Hotton, Garofalo, Kuhns, & Johnson, 2013), the current study examined whether these variables may mediate the association between sexual assault and sexual risk behavior. One hundred and ninety-four undergraduate students at a mid-sized Midwestern university completed measures of sexual experiences, insecure attachment, emotion regulation difficulties, coping strategies, and sexual risk behavior. Results demonstrated that there was a significant gender difference in the number of sexual assaults reported. There was also evidence demonstrating that sexual assault was associated with detrimental outcomes such as an insecure attachment style and difficulties with emotion regulation. Further, insecure attachment and difficulties with emotion regulation was associated with one form of sexual risk behavior. Surprisingly, the sexual assault experience was not associated with any sexual risk behaviors. Another unexpected finding was that survivors’ insecure attachment, difficulties with emotion regulation, and substance use coping did not mediate the association between sexual assault and sexual risk behaviors. Nevertheless, the current study highlights that sexual assault is detrimental and is still prevalent in college campuses today.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Seong-In Choi, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (x, 139 pages)



File Format