Over the past decade, cyber-sexual assault (also known as "nonconsensual pornography" or "revenge porn") has gained the attention of legal experts, the media, and most recently, the counseling profession. Whereas this nonconsensual sharing of sexually explicit images online, through social medial, or other forms of technology has been demonstrated to have significant impacts on victims, researchers have focused heavily upon the legality of these actions (i.e. should there be consequences for posting nude/semi-nude photos of non-consenting adults to the internet), but there has been a lack of attention to the mental health consequences of cyber-sexual assault on victims. The purpose of this study was to provide empirical support to how the psychological aftermath of cyber-sexual assault mirrors that of sexual assault and thus should be taken as seriously as sexual assault (clinically and legally). This study was conducted to investigate the direction and strength of relationships among latent variables associated with trauma symptomology (i.e., emotional dysregulation, trauma guilt, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression) in a sample of survivors of cyber-sexual assault. This investigation specifically tested whether modeling latent variables emotional dysregulation as measured by the Brief Version of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale [DERS-16] (Bjureberg et al., 2015) or trauma guilt as measured by the Trauma-Related Guilt Inventory [TRGI] (Kubany et al., 1996) as the independent variable, where the remaining latent variables of post-traumatic stress disorder as measured by the Impact of Events Scale Revised [IES-R] (Weiss & Marmar, 1996) and depression as measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Revised [CESD-R] (Eaton et al., 2004) were modeled as dependent variables, was a good fit for data collected from cyber-sexual assault survivors. Furthermore, the secondary analysis investigated whether modeling the latent variables of emotional dysregulation and trauma guilt as mediating variables on the direction and strength of relationship on the dependent variables of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression was a good fit for data collected from cyber-sexual assault survivors. To test the hypotheses that cyber-sexual assault survivors would show increased trauma symptomology similar to physical sexual assault survivors a structural equation model was developed. The results of the structural equation model (SEM) analyses identified trauma guilt contributed to 14% of the variance of emotional dysregulation; which then served to mediate the outcome variables most significantly. In fact, Emotional Dysregulation contributed to 67% of the variance in the levels of PTSD symptomology, and 44% of the variance in the levels of Depression.
Hagedorn, W. Bryce
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Education; Counselor Education
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Holladay, Kelley, "An investigation of the influence of cyber-sexual assault on the experience of emotional dysregulation, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, and trauma guilt." (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5242.