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Optimism as a potential protective factor for mental health outcomes following sexual assault


Whilst sexual assault is associated with a range of detrimental outcomes, many survivors also experience personal growth following the traumatic experience. A range of cross-sectional studies have demonstrated a positive association between increased optimism and improved mental health in sexual assault survivors specifically. However, high-quality longitudinal research investigating this relationship is still lacking. As such, using data from the 1946-1951 cohort, the present research will explore the relationship between sexual abuse, victims' level of dispositional optimism and their long-term mental health outcomes. We primarily aim to explore whether optimism protects against detrimental mental health outcomes following sexual abuse.