Date of Graduation

Summer 8-31-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)


School of Nursing and Health Professions


Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

First Advisor

June Madsen Clausen

Second Advisor

David Martinez

Third Advisor

Bernadette Barker-Plummer


Sexual assault is a long-standing widespread problem. Yet, despite the high prevalence of sexual assault, it is the most underreported crime of all crimes reported to the police (Bureau of Justice, 2018). The #MeToo movement has had a significant impact on the way in which sexual assault survivors disclose their experiences and the reasons they disclose. Disclosure appears to be an important factor in survivors’ healing from their assault, with increasing coping, greater attachment to others, and positive growth cited as effects of disclosure provided that the response to the disclosure is positive to the survivor (Ahrens & Aldana, 2012; Borja et al., 2006; Frazier et al., 2004, Orchowski & Gidycz, 2012). Yet, there is limited literature regarding differences in reasons for disclosure. Guided by the Disclosure Process Model (Chaudoir & Fisher, 2001) this study sought to compare reasons for disclosure across three different disclosure experiences: interpersonally before #MeToo, interpersonally after #MeToo, and on social media after #MeToo. Differences for reasons for disclosure were measured by Reasons for Disclosing Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence Scale (RDSIPVS) (Turner et al., 2019). Survivors’ reflections on #MeToo, disclosure satisfaction and mental health functioning, as measured by experience of PTSD symptoms and adaptive coping were also examined. Data were analyzed using a one-way between-subjects analysis of variance (ANOVA) (Field, 2018). Results indicated that differences in reasons for disclosure exist between the three disclosure process experiences and that the #MeToo movement may have impacted specific reasons for disclosure. Survivors’ reflections were the #MeToo movement are positive. However, among survivors who received negative reactions from participating in #MeToo, many suffered particularly harmful reactions. Survivors reported elevated levels of trauma symptoms with a wide range of levels coping. Findings indicate the importance of disclosure recipients, particularly mental health professionals, understanding reasons for disclosure and the potential role of social media in disclosure processes.