Date of Award

Winter 2-13-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Lynette Bikos, PhD

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Jacob Bentley, PhD

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Samantha Slaughter, PsyD


Sexual assault is a pervasive issue with the potential to impart serious and lasting consequences. Of the many possible factors that may influence outcomes, coping self-efficacy (CSE) and social support (SS) may play a role. Specifically, higher levels of SS appears to predict higher CSE following trauma (Hohl et al., 2015). SS also appears to be impacted by age, such that older individuals are often more negatively impacted by low SS (Matt & Dean, 1993; Schnittker, 2007). This study examined if the SS provided by a legal advocate (LASS) produced similar effects on CSE, with age as a moderator. Participants were female clients in the KCSARC legal advocacy program who were over the age of 18 (N = 87, M = 30.16 , SD = 12.36). Participants were administered up to three survey sets: (a) modified inventory of socially supportive behaviors (Barrera et al., 1981; Gibbs, Agatonovic, & Bikos, 2011), and (b) modified domestic violence coping self-efficacy measure (Benight, Harding-Taylor, Midboe, & Durnham, 2004; Gibbs et al., 2011). Data were prepared via multiple imputation and analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling. Results did not suggest a significant change over time for CSE, and did not suggest a significant relationship between LASS, CSE, and age. Additional ancillary analyses were also performed via the PROCESS macro for SPSS; results did not suggest age as a significant moderator between LASS and CSE, nor were there significant direct effects (b1 = 0.073, p = .48; b2 = 0.004, p = .68; b3 = -0.013, p = .22). Given the high rates of attrition and low repeated measures, these results should be interpreted with caution. The lack of observed relationship between LASS and CSE could suggest that the social support received by a legal advocate is not the same as the SS observed in naturally occurring networks. Legal advocates may better serve their clients with low SS by referring to outside resources, such as support groups. However, mental health providers should still recommend an LA service when available and appropriate, given the existing research suggesting the benefits to psychological health and legal success (Campbell, 2006).

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