Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Christina Balderrama-Durbin


Sexual risk-taking, while common in college culture, can increase the risk of sexual victimization. Nearly 20% of college women have been sexually assaulted (Krebs et al., 2009). Moreover, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been associated with sexual risk-taking (Johnson & Johnson, 2013). Self-esteem and social support are known to be related to PTSD and sexual risk-taking (Gullette & Lyons, 2006; Johnson & Johnson, 2013). This study aims to examine sexual victimization history, self-esteem, and social support as relative predictors of PTSD and sexual risk-taking using a sample of 229 female undergraduates. Results suggest that enhancing self-esteem, as opposed to bolstering social support, may have a greater relative impact on PTSD symptoms even after accounting for the impact of sexual victimization history. Moreover, the reduction of PTSD symptoms may have the potential to minimize sexual risk-taking behavior; however, future research is needed to determine temporal relations between these variables.

Included in

Psychology Commons