Sexual Assault Reporting and Emotional Distress among College Female-Identified Victims/Survivors

Marla E. Eisenberg, Lena Palacios, Katherine Lust, Carolyn M. Porta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose The current study tests associations between reporting sexual victimization to a healthcare provider, campus authority, police, or social contact, and emotional well-being among college women. Methods Data from 2,162 women who participated in the 2015 College Student Health Survey at 17 colleges in Minnesota was used. Analyses tested associations between reporting sexual assault to formal or informal resources and diagnosis with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as self-rated health. Results Significantly higher rates of all four diagnoses were observed among those who reported to formal resources (e.g., healthcare provider, police) compared with those who reported to informal resources (i.e., friends, family). However, no differences were seen in self-rated physical or mental health. Conclusions Expansion of trauma-informed healthcare services and advocacy efforts is recommended to optimally support students who report sexual assault experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-230
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of forensic nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 26 2019


  • College students
  • mental health
  • sexual assault reporting
  • trauma-informed healthcare services

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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