Evaluation of an Information-Processing Model Following Sexual Assault

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There is growing recognition that individuals vary in their response to traumatic experiences. Resick and Schnicke (1992) developed an information-processing model of trauma response patterns, theorizing that individuals vary in how they integrate the experience into their schematic beliefs. Specifically, individuals can respond to trauma by assimilation, altering the trauma to fit with extant schemas; accommodation, altering extant schemas; or overaccommodation, engaging in maladaptive schema change. Littleton (2007) supported that these response patterns are reflected in distinct coping patterns among rape victims. The current study utilized latent profile analysis (LPA) to replicate Littleton's (2007) findings in a sample of 340 college rape victims, as well as evaluated the extent to which these response patterns were related to distress, trauma-related schemas, revictimization risk behaviors, and revictimization. Results of the LPA supported the existence of the three response patterns. In addition, victims classified into the three response patterns differed in their distress, adherence to trauma-related schemas, and revictimization risk behaviors. While no significant differences in revictimization rates were found, revictimization was common. Implications of the findings for future research and intervention are discussed.

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