Psychiatry Investig.  2021 Apr;18(4):312-323. 10.30773/pi.2020.0141.

Profile Analysis of Sexual Assault Experiences among Adult Women and Their Implications for Mental Health

  • 1Department of Social Welfare, College of Social Sciences, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 2Policy Research Institute, Incheon Metropolitan City Public Agency for Social Service, Incheon, Republic of Korea
  • 3Co-Research Coop, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 4Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea


Extant studies indicate that just one characteristic of sexual assault cannot properly represent the whole experience of sexual assault and, especially, the severity of sexual assault. This study aimed to understand the totality of sexual assault experiences and elucidate subtypes of sexual assault victims based on the detailed characteristics of their sexual assault experiences and those relationships with mental health.
A total of 255 adult sexual violence victims who used intervention services and a comparison group were included. Information on their sexual assault experiences was gleaned from case records data.
The following four distinctive profile groups were identified: “Sexual Touching” (19.6%), “Rape/Social Relation” (30.4%), “Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)” (18.8%), and “Rape/Stranger” (31.3%). The subgroups differed in terms of secondary victimization and adverse childhood experiences. The Rape/Social Relation and IPV subgroups most frequently experienced secondary victimization and childhood adversity. The four profile subgroups demonstrated different relationships with mental health outcomes, with a complicated pattern. The Rap/Social Relation and IPV subgroups scored higher on mental health problem screening measures compared to other groups. However, a considerable proportion of victims in the Sexual Touching subgroup also reported suicidal behaviors and self-injury.
Based on the results, theoretical and clinical implications were discussed.


Psychosocial, Trauma related disorder
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