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College students, mental health, sexual assault reporting, trauma-informed healthcare services



  1. Eisenberg, Marla E. ScD, MPH


Purpose: The current study tests associations between reporting sexual victimization to a healthcare provider, campus authority, police, or social contact, and emotional well-being among college women.


Methods: Data from 2,162 women who participated in the 2015 College Student Health Survey at 17 colleges in Minnesota was used. Analyses tested associations between reporting sexual assault to formal or informal resources and diagnosis with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as self-rated health.


Results: Significantly higher rates of all four diagnoses were observed among those who reported to formal resources (e.g., healthcare provider, police) compared with those who reported to informal resources (i.e., friends, family). However, no differences were seen in self-rated physical or mental health.


Conclusions: Expansion of trauma-informed healthcare services and advocacy efforts is recommended to optimally support students who report sexual assault experiences.