Psychology, Professional



Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project


Kurt M. Gehlert

Second Advisor

Consuelo Cavalieri


The long term physical health consequences of sexual trauma are gaining notoriety in research literature with survivors of sexual trauma disclosing poorer ratings of their overall health and a greater number of health conditions as compared to people who do not endorse a history of sexual trauma. With survivors of sexual trauma continuing to use medical services for ailments related to their sexual violence, this author proposes that it is vital for medical providers to be aware of the connection between trauma and physical health outcomes as well as the potential risk of secondary victimization. Additionally, while physicians note the importance of screening for sexual violence and survivors displaying a desire to be asked about their trauma histories there continues to be a lapse in screening patients for past trauma. Discomfort in discussing violence, cultural concerns, fear of offending the patients, and time constraints have all been cited as reasons for physicians displaying hesitancy in screening. In response to the connection between sexual trauma and physical health consequences and medical professionals’ desire yet hesitancy in screening and assessing for past trauma, a webinar has been developed to address such a need. This doctoral project seeks to examine the links between trauma and physical health consequences, reasons for hesitancy, and present information in a webinar format that would address this aspect of survivor treatment. This webinar provides information surrounding mechanisms by which trauma can influence physical health, normalization of the hesitancy in screening that medical professionals may experience, materials to aid in the assessment of sexual violence, parallels by which medical exams can mirror sexual violence, and suggestions for reducing the risk of secondary victimization for survivors during medical visits.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.