Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Perception of Resistance as a Predictor of Self-Blame in College-Aged Women Who Have Experienced Sexual Assault

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology

First Advisor

Alan M. Gross

Second Advisor

Todd A. Smitherman

Third Advisor

Scott A. Gustafson


The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between resistance and perception of resistance during sexual assault and feelings of self-blame in college aged women. The literature has shown that self-blame has uniformly negative effects on a victimized woman's emotional and psychological health, including poor adjustment, and higher levels of sexual dissatisfaction, depression and global distress. Behaviors and situations during and after the experience that correlate with self-blame that have been studied include alcohol use and knowing the perpetrator. Although other studies have been done showing that resistance is lower during those situations, no one has looked at a direct link between resistance and self-blame. The purpose of this study was to see whether resistance is a predictor of self-blame in women who have experienced unwanted sexual contact. Hierarchical regressions revealed resistance was a significant predictor of self-blame, but that perception of resistance was a significant predictor of self-blame. Further analysis revealed a positive correlation between acknowledgement of rape and self-blame as well.

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