Group therapy for rape victims: a descriptive analysis

Longo, Jeffrey Michael, Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Virginia
Shaw, Peter, University of Virginia
May, Kathleen, Cu-Human Svcs, University of Virginia
Sowa, Claudia, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

This study evaluated the response of 22 rape victims to group therapy and attempted to identify factors which were associated with treatment outcome. Psychological functioning was measured by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Symptom Check-list 90 Revised (SCL-90R), and a Sexual Satisfaction Inventory (SSI), each of which were administered before and after treatment.

The major findings were that: (a) before treatment, victims had elevated scores on the BDI and SCL-90R in comparison to normative samples; (b) following treatment, victims scored significantly lower on the BDI, most of the SCL-90R scales, and reported greater sexual enjoyment on the SSI as compared to before treatment; (c) victims who had been raped in the more distant past (at least 16 months before treatment) scored significantly lower on a global measure of distress on the SCL-90R following treatment, whereas the scores of more recently raped victims (within 14 months of treatment) did not change; (d) victims of rape by acquaintances scored significantly lower on the BDI following treatment, whereas the BDI scores of victims of rape by strangers did not change; and (e) in general, variables related to social support and major life changes were not associated with psychological adjustment following treatment.

Modifications of the therapy groups to enhance their effectiveness for recent victims and victims of strangers are suggested, and shortcomings of the social support questionnaire are discussed. The author cautions that the small sample size precludes making inferences based on the results of this study to other therapy groups for rape victims.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Rape victims, Psychology, Group psychotherapy
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