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Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Sex crimes, Secondary traumatic stress, College students-Psychology, Self-disclosure, Sexual violence, Secondary victimization, Disclosure, Impact, College students


The aim of this exploratory study was to identify factors that may contribute to the postdisclosure adjustment of college students who were either bystander witnesses to sexual misconduct, or who had a college peer disclose that they were the victim of sexual violence. A semi-structured phone interview was conducted with nine volunteers, age 20 to 24. The study explored immediate and lasting emotional impacts, effects on social and academic life, utilization of support services, and effects on substance use patterns of disclosure recipients. All nine participants reported some level of distress as a result of the disclosure, consistent with findings in other similarly exposed populations, suggesting that the notion of secondary victimization should be considered in future studies of this population. Findings from this study support the recommendation that further research be conducted to understand the cumulative impacts of secondary victimization within this emerging adulthood age group.




iv, 60 pages : color illustration. Includes bibliographical references (pages 43-50)