Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in The Journal of Sex Research Volume 36, Number 4, November 1999: pp. 396-409. Copyright Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Used by permission.


This longitudinal study examined the consequences of sexual victimization in a sample of 237 young adult women from a rural community. Of the total sample, 71 (30%) reported experiencing some type of unwanted sex. Multiple regression was used to examine the effects on psychosocial adjustment of unwanted sex that occurred through nonviolent coercion and violent coercion, respectively, controlling for prior psychological adjustment. Results indicated that women who reported physically violent sexual coercion exhibited poorer psychological and social/relational adjustment than either nonvictimized women or women who had experienced nonviolent forms of sexual coercion. Additionally, nonviolent sexual coercion was associated with higher sexual depression, compared with nonvictimized status. A second set of regressions compared adjustment outcomes for women reporting four types of sexual coercion. (a) internal psychological pressure, (b) substance-related coercion, (c) external psychological manipulation, and (d) violent coercion. Controlling for earlier psychological adjustment, women who had unwanted sex because of either violent coercion or external psychological manipulation reported lower levels of psychological adjustment than women who had unwanted sex because of internal psychological pressure or substance-related coercion.