Title page for ETD etd-04292004-032414

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Chelf, Carole Melisa
URN etd-04292004-032414
Title An Intervention Model for Recruiting Rape Victims into Treatment
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Axsom, Daniel K. Committee Chair
Cooper, Lee D. Committee Member
Finney, Jack W. Committee Member
Jones, Russell T. Committee Member
Ollendick, Thomas M. Committee Member
  • treatment
  • sexual assault
  • rape
  • social support
Date of Defense 2004-04-20
Availability unrestricted
The percentage of rape victims who do not seek social support after rape is alarming, particularly given the potential consequences of not seeking help. The present study attempts to address the dilemma of rape and attempted rape victims’ lack of support seeking through a two-phase online intervention designed to encourage them to seek treatment. The study manipulates factors involved in characterizing oneself as a rape victim and in seeking help for problems resulting from rape. It was hypothesized that victims who received the intervention would seek counseling more than victims in a wait-list control group. Participants were 1322 women ranging in age from 17 to 39 from a large, southeastern university. Of these women, 344, or 26% of the sample, reported an experience consistent with a legal definition of rape or attempted rape. Unfortunately, it was not possible to fully examine the proposed model in this study, as hypothesized differences between intervention and control subjects did not exist. However, interesting trends developed collapsing across treatment groups. While few participants sought formal help, almost three-fourths sought informal help and almost half sought information about counseling. These findings are made even more salient by the large number of non-recent victims who sought help for the first time. Taking part in the study itself appeared to encourage victims who had gone without help for some time to actually seek help. In addition, higher levels of distress were associated with seeking help, as were higher levels of negative social reactions, stigma, and self-blame. Perceived need for help was found to mediate the relationship between distress and intent to seek help. Limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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