Violence, sexual trauma, perturbation, and suicidality: a multifactorial analysis of sexual victimisation typology and outcome

Stewart, A 2011, Violence, sexual trauma, perturbation, and suicidality: a multifactorial analysis of sexual victimisation typology and outcome, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Health Sciences, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Violence, sexual trauma, perturbation, and suicidality: a multifactorial analysis of sexual victimisation typology and outcome
Author(s) Stewart, A
Year 2011
Abstract Violence directed toward the self and others continues to manifest as a profound human problem, despite concerted amelioration efforts. Effective redress is hampered by taboos and underreporting, particularly in relation to sexual and familial violence and mental illness. Major objectives of the current research were to devise an inclusive, nonthreatening methodology to facilitate disclosure and circumvent previous research shortcomings, to achieve representation from underresearched and marginalised cohorts; derive comprehensive data to measure sexual abuse impact and sequelae; and examine victim offence-related perceptions and attributions, offending patterns, and relationships between sexual victimisation and suicidal ideation and behaviour.

Quantitative and qualitative data were derived from 2503 Australian males and females, aged 16-83 years, using a nationwide online survey. Extensive analyses were conducted to differentiate victims and nonvictims of child and adult sexual abuse; and nonsuicidal individuals from those reporting past suicidality. Comparative examination encompassed domains such as gender, assault-related attributions and cognitions, psychosocial wellbeing, trauma symptomology, and police-reporting. Multivariate analyses were conducted to identify and examine perpetrator modus operandi; offence typology and impact; victim reactions, perceptions, and attributions; and suicidal ideation and behaviours.

Current psychopathology was strongly associated with sexual abuse and suicidality histories. Heightened perturbation and suicidality were associated with childhood abuse and adult revictimisation. Males exhibited greater nondisclosure and help-seeking reticence than females, yet similar post-abuse psychopathology. Victims experienced multiple reporting barriers and frequent suboptimal reactions upon disclosure. Few perpetrators were reported. Suicidality history was significantly more present amongst victims of both childhood and adulthood sexual abuse.

Sociopolitical, judicial, clinical, and social change implications are discussed emphasising needs for deconstructing silence, fostering help-seeking, nonthreatening methodologies, primary prevention initiatives, and strengthened client-centred responses toward mental illness and victims and perpetrators of violence. Importance of fostering greater discourse and disclosure through broader social acceptance, inclusive practices, and responsive, strengths-based initiatives to address mental illness, suicidality, and offence-precipitating factors are addressed. The need to better suicidality detection and intervention through targeted and strategic change processes is emphasised.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Health Sciences
Keyword(s) Sexual abuse
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Created: Thu, 27 Oct 2011, 15:57:36 EST by Guy Aron
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