Predictors of delayed disclosure of rape in female adolescents and young adults

Background: Delayed disclosure of rape has been associated with impaired mental health; it is, therefore, important to understand which factors are associated with disclosure latency. The purpose of this study was to compare various demographics, post-rape characteristics, and psychological functioning of early and delayed disclosers (i.e., more than 1-week post-rape) among rape victims, and to determine predictors for delayed disclosure.
Methods: Data were collected using a structured interview and validated questionnaires in a sample of 323 help-seeking female adolescents and young adults (12–25 years), who were victimized by rape, but had no reported prior chronic child sexual abuse.
Results: In 59% of the cases, disclosure occurred within 1 week. Delayed disclosers were less likely to use medical services and to report to the police than early disclosers. No significant differences were found between delayed and early disclosers in psychological functioning and time to seek professional help. The combination of age category 12–17 years [odds ratio (OR) 2.05, confidence intervals (CI) 1.13–3.73], penetration (OR 2.36, CI 1.25–4.46), and closeness to assailant (OR 2.64, CI 1.52–4.60) contributed significantly to the prediction of delayed disclosure.
Conclusion: The results point to the need of targeted interventions that specifically encourage rape victims to disclose early, thereby increasing options for access to health and police services.

Iva A. E. Bicanic, Lieve M. Hehenkamp, Elise M. van de Putte, Arjen J. van Wijk, Ad de Jongh | 2015
In: European Journal of Psychotraumatology, ISSN 2000-8066 | 6 | 1-9