Date of Thesis

5-22-2016

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

William F. Flack Jr.

Abstract

Although campus sexual assault (CSA) has been studied for decades, it remains prevalent on campuses across the nation, particularly among women. Many survivors still face barriers to reporting these crimes, and those who do report often find a lack of support from the institutions on which they depend. A large portion of extant research focuses on individual factors related to sexual assault and fails to address larger systemic issues. The present study analyzed responses from a sample of 583 undergraduate students at Bucknell University on the Administration-Researcher Campus Climate Collaborative Survey (ARC3), a survey designed to study CSA and related factors. The survey includes measures of sexual assault and institutional responses, and measures of depression and PTSD symptoms were added to explore the relationships between sexual assault, institutional responses, and mental health. In particular, it was hypothesized that experiencing sexual assault would put individuals at a higher risk for depression and PTSD and that experiencing institutional betrayal, or a lack of proactive or reactive support from a trusted institution such as a university, would exacerbate these problems. Additional goals of the study were to examine sexual assault prevalence rates and rates of reporting these incidents to university officials. Through analyzing the data using descriptive and correlational analyses, all hypotheses were supported except the hypothesis that institutional betrayal would exacerbate mental health problems. Explanations of these findings and limitations of the study are discussed. Suggestions are made for future research on CSA and institutional betrayal, centering largely on attending to the complexities of the issues at hand.

Share

COinS