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Violence Vict. 2012;27(6):991-1004.

Respondents' experiences of completing a retrospective web-based, sexual trauma survey: does a history of sexual victimization equate with risk for harm?

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  • 1University of Bedfordshire, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health and Social Science, Luton, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom. nadia.wager@beds.ac.uk


This study investigated respondents' experiences of completing a retrospective web-based survey exploring sexual revictimization. The original survey provided a link to a separate mixed-methods survey assessing the impact of participation. Of the original 481 respondents, 234 completed this follow-up survey. Eighty percent were female and 52% reported histories of sexual victimization (SV). Newman, Willard, Sinclair, and Kaloupek's (2001) Reactions to Research Participation Questionnaire was adapted to suit this web-based design, and several open-ended questions were included. The statistical analysis revealed that those who experienced SV reported higher levels of distress and personal benefit and were less likely to be inconvenienced by participation. However, higher levels of benefit did not always compensate for greater levels of distress, particularly for those with more recent and more extensive histories of SV. The thematic analysis of the qualitative responses is discussed and suggestions are offered for the design of more ethically sensitive research protocols and practices.

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