Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Stacey L. Williams

Committee Members

Christopher S. Dula, Jon B. Ellis


Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a frequent problem in American society associated with a wide range of negative mental health outcomes. Some evidence suggests that disclosure may moderate the relationship between CSA and mental health. However, the specific reactions a victim receives following disclosure may directly affect the impact that disclosure has on mental health. The current study directly and simultaneously evaluated the roles of disclosure and social reactions in relation to mental health outcomes. The sample consisted of 652 undergraduate students at East Tennessee State University who completed an on-line, self-administered questionnaire. Forty-four (6.75%) of the participants reported experiencing CSA. Of the 44 participants who experienced CSA, 18 (41%) disclosed their abuse. Results indicated that, counter to our hypotheses; neither CSA nor disclosure was significantly related to anxiety and depression. However; as predicted, negative social reactions were significantly related to both anxiety and depression among those who had disclosed.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.