Theses and Dissertations


Are Self-Protective Behaviors Associated with Sexual and Physical Assault in Women?

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Berman, Mitchell E.

Committee Member

Eakin, Deborah K.

Committee Member

Sinclair, H. Colleen

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science


Research supports the notion that sexual and physical assault history is associated with the use of self-protective strategies. One shortcoming in this area of research is the reliance on dichotomous (yes-no) measures of assault as opposed to number of experiences. The aim of this study was to determine if the number of sexual and physical assaults experienced is associated with self-protection behaviors, controlling for general safety concerns. Women (N = 293) completed measures of sexual and physical assault, self-protective behaviors, fear, and safety concerns using a web based survey. Contrary to expectations, sexual and physical assault (and the interactive effect of these variables) were not related to self-protective behaviors. However, safety concerns and overall fear were positively associated with the use of self-protective behaviors. These findings have implications for the creation of interventions aimed at victims of crime.


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