Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology

First Advisor

Anne P. DePrince, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Stephen Shirk

Third Advisor

Omar Gudino

Fourth Advisor

Angela Narayan

Fifth Advisor

Heather Taussig


Cognitive appraisals, Physical health, Sexual assault


Women who have been sexually assaulted are at risk for negative mental and physical health outcomes; however, limited research has tested how psychological responses to sexual assault may influence physical health. The present study tested a longitudinal model examining the association between posttrauma appraisals and physical health problems. Drawn from a larger study, the sample included 156 ethnically diverse women who had been sexually assaulted within the last year. The study used cross-lagged panel models to test for reciprocal relationships between posttrauma appraisals and physical health problems over time. A secondary aim of the study was to test whether other factors that have been previously linked to physical health in the context of the broader trauma literature (e.g., social support, revictimization) moderated the relationship between posttrauma appraisals and physical health problems. Women in the study reported an average of seven different physical health problems three months after the initial interview, with headaches being the most commonly reported health problem. Analyses revealed unique relationships between specific posttrauma appraisals and physical health problems. Physical health problems were predictive of women reporting greater appraisals of alienation and anger related to the sexual assault. Posttrauma appraisals did not significantly predict physical health problems, refuting the hypothesized reciprocal relationships. Revictimization moderated the relationship between physical health problems and posttrauma appraisals. Implications and areas of future research are discussed.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Kerry Lyn Gagnon


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

78 p.



Included in

Psychology Commons