Disclosure & Appraisal in CSA: Relationships with PTSD, Depression, and Biomarkers

Project Summary

omen at high risk for PTSD and depression will be recruited from a community sample of Latina (N=55) and African American (N=55) women, ages 18-40, with histories of child sexual abuse (CSA). The aims are to:

  1. Examine the role of CSA severity (based on type of physical contact, relationship of the perpetrator to the child and amount of revictimization) on current symptoms of depression and PTSD and associated biomarkers of distress
  2. Determine if the relationship between CSA severity and negative outcomes is mediated by disclosure patterns (CSA not disclosed, disclosed/supported or disclosed/unsupported) and/or appraisal of self-blame; and
  3. Explore possible racial/ethnic differences in CSA severity, rates of disclosure, and appraisal patterns.

Biomarkers used in previous research quantifying cumulative burden of stress (allostatic load) will be assessed, including cortisol, DHEA, catecholamines, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and waist-to-hip ratio. Data will be collected during a face-to-face and ACASI interview using standardized psychological instruments and via a 12-hour overnight urine collection for assessment of neuroendocrine biomarkers. The findings from this pilot will be used to better understand the role of CSA severity, disclosure and appraisal of self-blame in the development of mental health problems among Latina and African American women. Implications from this study will contribute to the development of an R01 intervention for ethnically diverse women with histories of CSA, a population at high risk for mental and physical health impairments.

Current status: Project live


Primary Investigator: Jennifer Vargas-Carmona, Tamra Loeb