Depression, posttraumatic stress, and health behaviors as mediators of sexual victimization and physical health
Salstrom, Seoka A
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Recent investigations have suggested that sexual victimization is related to longterm physical health. This study examined three pathways (i.e., depression, posttraumatic stress, and health behaviors) by which this relationship may exist. Participants were 107 sexually victimized college women. Results indicated that depression partially mediated between sexual victimization and each of the following outcomes: health perceptions, physical symptoms, functional disability, and pain severity. Similarly, posttraumatic stress partially mediated between sexual victimization and both health perceptions and physical symptoms. Regarding health behaviors, results indicated that sexual-risk-taking partially mediated between posttraumatic stress and number of pain sites. General health behaviors mediated between posttraumatic stress and both health perceptions and medical utilization. These results suggest that even among young, relatively healthy women, sexual victimization is related to several negative health outcomes. Depression and posttraumatic stress partially accounted for this relationship in many instances. However, health behaviors were not consistently found to mediate the relationship.