Relationship Type As A Predictor Of Disclosure And Social Reactions To Disclosure Of Sexual Intimate Partner Violence Victimization

Micheller Lynn DePasquale, University of New Hampshire, Durham


During their lifetime, 5%-17% of individuals will experience sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization (Tjaden & Theonnes, 2000). Previous research has examined risk factors and outcomes of sexual IPV victimization, but one understudied area is relationship type (i.e., causal and serious dating relationships) and how it relates to disclosure and social reactions to disclosure of sexual IPV victimization. Although research has examined the correlates of negative social reactions to disclosure (e.g., blaming the victim), there is a need for research regarding the possible link between relationship type and social reactions to disclosure in order to predict what factors influence different types of reactions to disclosure. The purpose of this study was to examine how type of relationship relates to disclosure and the social reactions to disclosure of sexual IPV victimization. Participants were 174 women with sexual IPV victimization experiences from a medium sized New England University who completed surveys online or in person for course credit. Surveys assessed demographics, sexual IPV victimization experiences, and social reactions to sexual IPV victimization experiences among victims who disclosed their sexual IPV victimization experiences. Contrary to hypotheses, there were no significant relationships among relationship type and the act of disclosure nor social reactions to disclosure. One reason for this outcome could be there are various definitions regarding different types of relationships. Findings may be due to a measurement issue or other factors may matter more to disclosure and social reactions to disclosure than relationship type.