Evaluation of the Modified Social Reactions Questionnaire: A Mixed-Methods Approach
This item will be available on: 2023-07-01
Survivors of sexual assault receive a wide range of social reactions when they disclose their sexual assault experience to informal (e.g., family and friends) and formal (e.g., police, healthcare providers) support sources. Survivors’ perceptions of these social reactions may influence post-assault recovery. Researchers have found that receiving what are perceived as harmful social reactions, such as those that blame the survivor for the assault, are associated with higher levels of distress, negative cognitions, and maladaptive coping strategies. Conversely, the impact of what are perceived as helpful social reactions, such as receiving validation and support, has been mixed, with some researchers finding that receiving these reactions is linked to less self-blame and less distress, while others find no relationship. Currently, the most commonly used instrument to examine survivors’ disclosure reactions is the Social Reactions Questionnaire, which gauges the frequency with which survivors received a number of potentially helpful and harmful responses during disclosure experiences. Nonetheless, little research has examined survivors’ perceptions of reactions they receive and the impact it may have on their post-assault outcomes. It is possible that how helpful or harmful survivors perceive these reactions is more strongly associated with adjustment than frequency of receipt of reactions. This dissertation sought to further evaluate a modified version of the Social Reactions Questionnaire (SRQ) that assesses perceived helpfulness/harmfulness of social reactions received rather than frequency. Previous work conducted by the author evaluated this revised measure among a sample of college women who experienced sexual assault. Factor analyses of the modified SRQ supported a 34-item measure, with two helpful reactions subscales (validating and supportive responses and providing tangible aid responses) and three harmful reactions subscales (turned against responses, controlling responses, and egocentric responses). Results of this initial study supported the psychometrics of modified version of the SRQ, including adequate internal consistency and good convergent validity with other measures of distress, coping, and social support. However, the previous study did not evaluate the modified measure’s convergent validity with other measures of disclosure or evaluate test-retest reliability. Therefore, in the current dissertation, I sought to further validate the modified SRQ in a sample of college women who experienced sexual assault, via evaluation of the measure’s internal consistency, convergent validity, and test-retest reliability. In addition, to assess the validity of the scales, responses were compared with written descriptions of the helpful and harmful reactions they had received when they disclosed. The two-week test-retest of the modified SRQ was evaluated and convergent validity with measures of trauma disclosure, posttraumatic cognitions, and sexual-assault related stigma was assessed. Overall, there were mixed findings, with three of the subscales demonstrating adequate to good internal consistencies (validating/supportive, turned against, and controlling subscales, αs ranging from .79 -.89). Conversely, the egocentric subscale (α = .56) and the providing aid subscale (α = .54) both displayed poor internal consistency. Most subscales demonstrated good two-week test-retest reliability (ICCs ranging from .81 to .86), with the exception of the turned against subscale, which demonstrated moderate reliability (ICC = .71). Scores on the modified SRQ were not associated with post-traumatic cognitions, with the exception of the controlling subscale, which was moderately positively correlated with negative cognitions about self (r = .33). Conversely, all three of the harmful reactions subscales were moderately positively correlated with stigma scores (turned against r = .46; controlling r = .35; egocentric r = .39). Additionally, scores were associated with the Disclosure Trauma Questionnaire (DTQ). Specifically, the turned against subscale was correlated with reluctance to talk r = .33, the validating / supportive response subscale with urge to talk r = .30 and the emotional reactions subscale with all three of the harmful reactions subscales: turned against r = .43; controlling r = .33; egocentric r = .36). Lastly, survivor’s written accounts were analyzed using thematic analysis and then grouped into four overarching disclosure response types. Modified SRQ scores varied among survivors describing these four types of disclosure responses in expected ways. Future work with the modified SRQ could focus on survivors with greater diversity in disclosure responses received, such as those who seek formal help, as well as evaluate whether the measure’s psychometrics are improved when utilizing a different response metric. Such research could lead to a better understanding of how best to assess social reactions among sexual assault survivors.
Haney, Laura. (July 2021). Evaluation of the Modified Social Reactions Questionnaire: A Mixed-Methods Approach (Doctoral Dissertation, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/9388.)
Haney, Laura. Evaluation of the Modified Social Reactions Questionnaire: A Mixed-Methods Approach. Doctoral Dissertation. East Carolina University, July 2021. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/9388. August 12, 2022.
Haney, Laura, “Evaluation of the Modified Social Reactions Questionnaire: A Mixed-Methods Approach” (Doctoral Dissertation., East Carolina University, July 2021).
Haney, Laura. Evaluation of the Modified Social Reactions Questionnaire: A Mixed-Methods Approach [Doctoral Dissertation]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; July 2021.
East Carolina University