Date of Award

January 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

RaeAnn Anderson


Previous research has demonstrated the dramatic effect trauma can have on religiosity. This study sought to extend this understanding by examining how rape influences religious beliefs and behaviors as well as how religiosity influences acknowledgement and disclosure of rape. The overwhelming majority of the United States population is religious, and religiosity has been associated with several important health indicators, yet very little research has examined the connection between religiosity and specific rape recovery outcomes. A sample of 310 college-aged women completed an online survey with questionnaires about personal religiosity, the religiosity of their surrounding support system, and their sexual history. Results indicated those who experienced rape experienced significantly greater change in their religious belief compared to those who had not been raped and those who experienced trauma other than rape (p = .015). The relationship between rape acknowledgement and religiosity was significantly mediated by ambivalent sexism (95% CI [.0016, .0694]) and endorsement of rape myths about women lying about rape (95% CI [.0021, .0691]), such that high religiosity was associated with greater acceptance of these beliefs, which was associated with a lower likelihood of acknowledgement. Finally, disclosure of rape was significantly predicted by greater rejection of rape myths (p = .014) and greater blame on the other person (p = .023). Nonreligious participants were less likely to disclose when they perceived their friends to be more religious (r = -.472, p = .010). In all, rape has the potential to significantly alter one’s religious beliefs, and religiosity has a unique influence on how one understands and communicates a personal experience of rape. Implications for clinical interventions are discussed.