Browsing Theses and Dissertations School of Social Work by Title "Understanding the Health Consequence of Sexual Victimization: Assessing the Impact of Social and Economic Factors"
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Understanding the Health Consequence of Sexual Victimization: Assessing the Impact of Social and Economic FactorsThe long-term physical health consequences of sexual violence are well documented; however, few studies have examined the impact of social and economic factors on physical health outcomes associated with sexual violence. In particular, the health consequences of sexual violence are not clearly understood among racial and ethnic minority women, including the extent to which socioeconomic status (SES) influences health within racial and ethnic populations. Drawing upon the Social Determinants of Health Framework and intersectionality, this study examines the relationship between race, ethnicity, SES, and multiple health outcomes in a sample of female sexual violence victims (N = 3,622) using the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS). Findings highlight significant group differences based on race, ethnicity, and SES in health status and chronic disease. African American women reported higher proportions of poor/fair health and most chronic diseases (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure) compared to Latina women and White non-Hispanic women. Women with lower incomes, lower education, past-year food insecurity, past-year housing insecurity, and past-year financial barriers to healthcare access also reported higher proportions of poor/fair health and most chronic health conditions. Multivariate results highlight within-group relationships between victimization characteristics, SES, and health status based on race and ethnicity. Among African American women, financial barriers to healthcare access was associated with poor/fair health. Among White non-Hispanic women, lower income, lower education, food insecurity, older age of first victimization, and disclosure to healthcare professionals were associated with poor/fair health. Among Latina women, food insecurity, younger age of first victimization, no history of intimate partner physical and/or psychological violence, and disclosure to police were associated with poor/fair health. Findings provide an intersectional understanding of the unique needs and experiences of sexual violence victims based on race, ethnicity, and SES. Results suggest the need for affordable and accessible healthcare as well as police training to reduce poor health outcomes among victims, particularly African American and Latina women. High levels of economic insecurity among victims suggest the need for practitioners to screen for socioeconomic needs (e.g., housing, food and nutrition) in order to reduce poor health outcomes among victims.