Psychology Night Research Posters and Presentations

Faculty Sponsor, if applicable

Molly Brown

Project Abstract

Rape survivor advocates who provide ER services are exposed to the trauma experiences of rape survivors, potentially leading to feeling overwhelmed, experiencing burnout, and leaving the field (Yanay & Yanay, 2008; Ullman & Townsend, 2007). Motivations for advocacy can be linked to advocates’ own recovery from sexual assault (Jenkins et al., 2011), placing them at potentially higher risks of vicarious trauma (Dworkin, Sorell, & Allen, 2014; Ghahramanlou & Brodbeck, 2000). Disclosure has been unexplored in the context of first response and in disclosure of traumatic material. The present study explores whether advocates who survived sexual assault disclose to clients and staff, and how they make their decision to disclose. Using thematic analysis, 11 qualitative interviews with advocates who are survivors have identified themes related to (a) lack of disclosure, (b) considerations in disclosing such as boundary-setting, client benefit, disclosing to connect, and importance of disclosing to the organization, and (c) reactions to disclosing. Since disclosure has been found to positively impact therapeutic relationships (Henretty et al., 2014), findings may have implications for quality of service provision. Acknowledging provider lived experience can inform organizational support to ensure advocate well-being, combat stigma, and identify ways of managing disclosure.

Type of Research

Doctoral-Undergraduate Opportunity for Scholarship (DUOS)


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