Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Desi Hacker (Director, Norfolk State University)

Committee Member

Lula Sawyer (Norfolk State University)

Committee Member

Robin Lewis (Old Dominion University)

Committee Member

Rick Handel (Eastern Virginia Medical School)

Committee Member

Scott Debb (Norfolk State University)


Relatively little is known about the effect of contextual factors of sexual trauma (age at trauma, type of trauma, perpetrator gender, tactics, and relationship) and trauma-related shame and risk-taking motivations. Therefore, the current study aimed to examine this relationship among a sample of 360 undergraduate women with histories of sexual trauma, hypothesizing that trauma-related shame and motivations for participation in extreme sports, drinking games, and sex would differ based on the contextual factors of sexual trauma and the past experience of non-sexual trauma. Age was related to the linear combination of trauma-related shame and risk-taking motivations. Furthermore, contact, relationship, and disclosure were related to the linear combination of trauma-related shame but not risk-taking motivations. Additionally, in all analyses, nonsexual trauma had a significant effect on trauma-related shame; however, nonsexual trauma only had a significant effect on the linear combination of risk-taking motivations in four of the six analyses (i.e., age, contact, gender, and disclosure). Future research should examine other measures to study trauma-related shame and should explore the effects of contextual factors on risk-taking motivations for a wider variety of risky behaviors.


The VIRGINIA CONSORTIUM PROGRAM IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY is a joint program of Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University.


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