Sustained and shifting attention during emotional arousal among sexually victimized women
Hammond, Charity Beth
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Sexual assault is a prevalent problem in today’s society and significant research has been directed toward the question of what increases risk for sexual assault. Studies have yet to provide a definitive answer, but a consistently strong predictor of future sexual assault is history of sexual victimization. One possible explanation for this connection is that sexual assault history leads to poorer risk recognition. This study explored an approach to threat perception focusing on attention processes that could enhance the understanding of how revictimization occurs. The study found no differences between women with different sexual victimization histories on performance on sustained and shifting attention tasks. The study did find that trauma history and psychological variables moderated this relationship. These results that attention may play a role in revictimization, but based on the influence of third variables. Limitations and future directions were also discussed.