Participation in research on sexual trauma may provoke disturbing memories and distressing emotions. Despite the proliferation of research on sexual violence during the last decade, little is known about the effects of study involvement on participants. Based on a review of the literature, the author's experiences as a sexual violence researcher, and reflections of women who have participated in such research, this article explores the emotional impact of sexual violence research on participants. Although the risk of lasting harm stemming from participation in trauma research is a legitimate concern, the benefits of confiding a traumatic experience to a trustworthy other seem to outweigh the immediate distress that accompanies discussion of painful experiences. A useful framework for understanding the responses of research participants who talk or write about traumatic experiences is discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Phychiatric Mental Health