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Rape in Marriage and in Dating Relationships: How Bad Is It for Mental Health?

NCJ Number
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences Volume: 528 Dated: (August 12, 1988) Pages: 335-344
Date Published
10 pages
This study found that date rape and marital rape are significantly more frequent than stranger rape, and the long-term psychological consequences of such rape are just as severe as those from stranger rape.
Study subjects were 43 adult (age 18 or older) female victims of completed rape and 96 adult female nonvictims of completed rape, other sexual assault, aggravated assault, robbery, or burglary. All subjects were drawn from a sample of 391 adult women who had participated in a large study designed to determine the lifetime prevalence of several types of criminal victimization experiences. The assessment battery consisted of two structured interviews and four paper-and-pencil tests. The Mental Health Problem Interview involved a slight modification of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule, a structured interview designed to gather data. The only mental health problems examined for this study were major depressive episodes, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and sexual dysfunction. Of the 101 rape cases, husbands were assailants in 23.8 percent of the cases, and assailants were dates in 16.8 percent of the rape cases. There was no evidence to support the assumption that rape by a husband or boyfriend had less severe long-term psychological consequences than rape by a stranger. 4 tables and 18 references

Date Published: January 1, 1988