Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Community Health Promotion (PhD)

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Leah Jean Henry

Committee Member

Erin Kern Popejoy

Second Committee Member

Bart Hammig

Third Committee Member

Jacquelyn Wiersma-Mosley


college, interpretative phenomenological analysis, mental health, post-assault experiences, qualitative, sexual violence


Description: Despite the increase in resources to address the alarming rates of collegiate sexual violence (SV), survivors consistently do not disclose or seek mental health treatment from campus supports (Halstead et al., 2017). The purpose of this study was to understand the lived experiences of women who survived SV during college.

Method: Seven women who experienced SV during college completed a series of two semi-structured interviews using a HIPAA-compliant, web-conferencing software (Seidman, 2013). The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) framework (IPA; Smith, 2004; Smith et al., 2009). A six-step data analysis procedure identified 14 emergent themes presented within the constructs of the reasoned action approach (RAA; Azjen, 2012).

Findings: The first four themes (changes in mood, changes in behavior, changes in relationships, and overall college experience) captured the survivors' perceptions about how the SV incident impacted their lives. An additional 10 themes reflected the salient beliefs about seeking campus-mental health services held by the survivors, including violations of confidentiality, fear and uncertainty, explicit suggestions, private providers, just for little things, defer to adults, accessibility, not a consideration, and fallout symptoms or red flags.

Conclusion: Themes represented participant attitudes, perceived norms, personal agency, knowledge and skills, and salience. The findings of this study provide rich, contextual evidence to inform interventions aimed at increasing the intention to use campus mental health support services among SV survivors.