A CONCEPTUAL ANALYSIS OF RAPE VICTIMIZATION: Long‐Term Effects and Implications for Treatment

Mary P Koss, Barry R. Burkhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Recent prevalence studies have suggested that 15‐22% of women have been raped at some point in their lives, many by close acquaintances, although few victims seek assistance services or professional psychotherapy immediately post‐assault. Surveys have revealed that 31–48% of rape victims eventually sought professional psychotherapy, often years after the actual assault. These observations suggest that the primary role of clinicians in the treatment of rape victims is the identification and handling of chronic, post‐traumatic responses to a nonrecent experience. However, it is concluded that most of the existing literature on rape treatment addresses only the target symptoms that represent the immediate response to rape. In this article, contemporary theoretical and empirical discussions of stress, cognitive appraisal, cognitive adaptation, and coping are used to conceptualize the long‐term impact of rape and the process of resolution. Directions for future research on the clinical treatment of rape are suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-40
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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