Send to

Choose Destination
J Sex Res. 2017 Mar-Apr;54(3):273-283. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2016.1156047. Epub 2016 Apr 19.

Do Some Students Need Special Protection From Research on Sex and Trauma? New Evidence for Young Adult Resilience in "Sensitive Topics" Research.

Author information

a Department of Psychology and Social Behavior , University of California , Irvine.
b Department of Psychiatry , University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
c Department of Psychology , University of New Mexico.


Institutional review boards (IRBs) have expressed concerns that certain individuals or groups, such as participants who are younger, ethnic minorities, or who have certain psychological or personality traits, may be particularly distressed when participating in "sensitive topics" research. This study examined the effects of several demographic and individual difference factors (i.e., age, sex, ethnicity, religiosity, Big Five personality traits, and baseline psychological distress levels) on reactions to participation in sensitive topics research. Participants were 504 undergraduates who completed an extensive battery of either trauma/sex questionnaires or cognitive tests and rated their positive and negative emotional reactions and the perceived benefits and mental costs of participating. They also compared research participation to normal life stressors. Our findings indicated that individual difference and demographic risk factors do not increase participant distress after participating in sex/trauma research over and above that experienced after participating in traditionally minimal-risk cognitive tasks. Participants generally found research participation less distressing than normal life stressors and even enjoyable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center