Sexual Assault and Mental Disorders in a Community Population

Published in: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, v. 56, 1988, p. 843-850

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1987

by M. Audrey Burnam, Judith Stein, Jacqueline M. Golding, Judith M. Siegel, Susan B. Sorenson, AB Forsythe, Cynthia A. Telles

Read More

Access further information on this document at psycnet.apa.org

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

In a cross-sectional probability survey of 3,132 household adults representing two Los Angeles communities, lifetime diagnoses of nine major mental disorders were compared between those who reported that they had been sexually assaulted at some time in their lives and those who reported no sexual assault. Sexual assault predicted later onset of major depressive episodes, substance use disorders, and anxiety disorders. Those who were assaulted in childhood were more likely than those first assaulted in adulthood to report the subsequent development of a mental disorder. Demographic characteristics of gender, age, Hispanic ethnic background, and education, however, were generally unrelated to the probability of developing any specific disorder after being assaulted. Finally, major depression, drug abuse or dependence, antisocial personality, and phobia were all associated with a higher probability of subsequent sexual assault.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.