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Trauma Violence Abuse. 2018 Dec 25:1524838018813198. doi: 10.1177/1524838018813198. [Epub ahead of print]

Risk for Mental Disorders Associated With Sexual Assault: A Meta-Analysis.

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1 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA.


Sexual assault (SA) is a common form of trauma that is associated with numerous deleterious outcomes. Understanding the relative prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses in people who have been sexually assaulted versus people who have not been assaulted could help to prioritize assessment and intervention efforts, but there has been no quantitative review of this topic. A search of PsychINFO, ProQuest Digital Dissertations and Theses, and Academic Search Premier for articles dated between 1970 and 2014 was conducted, and unpublished data were obtained. Eligible studies used diagnostic interviews to assess Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders diagnoses in both individuals experiencing adolescent/adult and/or lifetime SA and unassaulted individuals. The search yielded 171 eligible effects from 39 studies representing 88,539 participants. Meta-regression was used to aggregate the prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses in sexually assaulted and unassaulted samples as well as calculate odds ratios reflecting the difference between these prevalence estimates. Results indicated that most disorders were more prevalent in survivors of SA, and depressive disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were especially prevalent. Disorder-specific differences in odds ratios were observed as a function of sample type, type of comparison group, and time frame of SA. Service providers should be prepared to address depressive disorders and PTSD in survivors of SA, and interventions that prevent the development of these disorders are especially needed.


depression; meta-regression; psychopathology; rape; sexual violence; victimization

[Available on 2020-06-25]

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