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Trauma Violence Abuse. 2014 Jul;15(3):191-200. Epub 2014 Jan 22.

An Exploration of Sexual Victimization and Academic Performance Among College Women.

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Institute on Violence Against Women Policy Studies, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA
Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.


The literature has documented the widespread nature of sexual assault victimization among college women. While the aftermath of violence against university women has also received focus, that is, documenting trauma-related sequelae; risk factors; reporting patterns; and legal interventions, the impact on academic performance has not received adequate attention in the literature. The primary purpose of this study was to explore the association of rape and sexual assault with academic performance among college women. Its specific aims included the following: to compare high school and college sexual assault experiences with collegiate grade point averages (GPAs) at key points in time; to examine any differences in GPA by type of sexual assault; to urge researchers studying retention and persistence patterns or sexual assault among college students to ensure that the relationship between the two is included in research designs; and to recommend that academic institutions expand programming on retention to include rape and sexual assault among the risk factors associated with a lack of persistence.


academic performance; retention; sexual assault; victimization; women


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