One in five U.S. women experience sexual assault during their lifetime, yet the experiences and health outcomes of sexual assault survivors remain very poorly understood.
A multidisciplinary team of UNC investigators has received NIH R01 funding from five different institutes to perform the first ever large scale prospective study of sexual assault survivors. The five-year study will enroll 900 women who present for emergency care after sexual assault and will follow them prospectively for one year. This study will yield important new insights into survivor experiences. In addition, the study will evaluate genetic, psychosocial and environmental factors influencing adverse outcomes after sexual assault including chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The principal investigator of the grant is Samuel McLean, MD, MPH, associate professor of anesthesiology and emergency medicine and research vice chair in the Department of Anesthesiology. Co-investigators on the grant include Kenneth Bollen, PhD, Henry Rudolph Immerwahr Distinguished Professor in the Department of Sociology, and Sandra Martin, PhD, professor of maternal and child health and associate dean for research at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.