Impact of Rape Age: A Research Proposal

Impact of Rape Age:
Victim’s Psychopathology, Substance Use, and Risk-taking Behavior Outcomes
Amanda R. Lounsbury
University of HartfordAbstract
The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between the age at which the experience of a completed rape occurs (rape age) and present-day mental health outcomes within adult female rape survivors (ages 20-30). After grouping participants (N = 150) through a descriptive survey design, a non-experimental cross-sectional developmental design incorporating nonequivalent group differential cluster analysis will be employed to assess the relationship between rape age (IV) and mental health factors. Based on previous research, it was hypothesized that women whose rape age was below 21 would experience greater negative effects on their health than women whose rape age was above 21 years old. Specifically, younger rape age (i.e. below 21 years old) was hypothesized to be a predictor variable for the following (DV): increased expression of symptomology for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depressive Episode, alcohol and substance use disorders, and moderate- to high-risk sexual behavior patterns. It is hoped that the results of this study will provide insight for preventative and risk-reduction programs.The prevalence of rape and sexual victimization in American society is timeless and undeniable. About one in five (approximately 22 million) women in the United States have experienced a rape within their lifeime (Black, Basile, Breiding, Smith, Walters, Merrick, Chen, & Stevens, 2011). The impacts of rape and sexual assault have been extensively researched: female survivors demonstrate increased susceptibility to a wide range of psychological disorders, physical ailments, and social dilemmas. Female rape victims show greater risk of developing mental disorders in comparison to women who have experienced traumatic events unrelated to sexual victimization (Resnick, Kilpatrick, Dansky,…