Examining Cultural, Social, and Self-Related Aspects of Stigma in Relation to Sexual Assault and Trauma Symptoms

Document Type


Publication Date



The current study investigated a model explaining sexual assault victims’ severity of trauma symptoms that incorporated multiple stigma constructs. Integrating the sexual assault literature with the stigma literature, this study sought to better understand trauma-related outcomes of sexual assault by examining three levels of stigma—cultural, social, and self. Results showed self-stigma was significantly and positively related to trauma symptom severity. Thus, results revealed that the internalized aspect of stigma served as a mechanism in the relation between sexual assault severity and increased levels of trauma symptom severity, highlighting the importance of assessing self-stigma in women reporting sexual assault experiences.