Adaptive strategies and recovery from rape

Am J Psychiatry. 1979 Oct;136(10):1278-82. doi: 10.1176/ajp.136.10.1278.


The authors conducted a follow-up study of 81 rape victims to analyze the effect of adaptive or maladaptive response to rape on recovery over a 4-6 year period. They found that victims recovering fastest used more adaptive strategies, including positive self-assessment; defense mechanisms of explanation, minimization, suppression, and dramatization; and increased action. Victims who had not yet recovered had more maladaptive mechanisms, such as negative self-assessments, inaction, substance abuse, and action on suicidal thoughts.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Rape*
  • Self Concept
  • Social Behavior
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology