Sexual Victimization, Negative Cognitions, and Adjustment in College Women

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Objectives: To determine if negative cognitions accounted for the associations of sexual victimization with depression and alcohol-related problems among first-year college women.

Methods: Data were collected from 719 first-year college females. Structural equation modeling was used to test if negative cognitive schemas mediated the links between sexual victimization and 2 outcomes.

Results: Sexual victimization was related to higher levels of depression and alcohol-related problems, and negative cognitions partially accounted for these associations. Whether or not the incident happened in a dating context did not impact on cognitions.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that preventing negative cognitions might help offset adverse consequences associated with sexual victimization.

Keywords: cognitions; college females; coping; sexual victimization

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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