Sarah E. Ullman is Professor of Criminology, Law, & Justice and Affiliate Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Director of the UIC Office of Social Science Research. She received a Ph.D. in Social/Developmental Psychology at Brandeis University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Health Psychology at UCLA. She is an applied social psychologist whose research concerns the impact of sexual assault and traumatic life events on women’s health and substance abuse outcomes, behavioral correlates of rape avoidance/prevention, and the role of alcohol and drug use in sexual assault outcomes.
Her research interests are on violence against women, particularly sexual victimization of women in adulthood and childhood. Her work uses quantitative and qualitative methods to study risk factors for sexual victimization and the impact of rape on women’s mental and physical health including PTSD, suicidal behavior, problem drinking, and mental health services seeking. In one line of work, she examined women’s resistance strategies in rape situations and the relationship of self-defense training to women’s avoidance of rapes. She has done extensive research on the role of alcohol in sexual assault as both a risk factor for being assaulted and as an outcome of victimization. She developed a measure of social reactions to victim’s disclosures of sexual assault, now widely used in the field, the Social Reactions Questionnaire (SRQ, Ullman, 2000).
Professor Ullman has conducted survey and interview research studies on female victims with a particular focus on stress, coping, and social support processes associated with psychological adjustment outcomes. Several of her studies have examined how social reactions from formal and informal support sources affect women’s coping and recovery from sexual assault including their PTSD and substance abuse outcomes. She has also interviewed both survivors and service providers (advocates, clinicians) about their disclosure and help seeking experiences and is developing an informal support network intervention for survivors and their social network members.
Her research has been funded by NIAAA, NIMH, and foundation funding, and she has reviewed grants for various federal agencies. She is currently conducting a NIAAA-funded longitudinal study of risk and protective factors in sexual assault survivors related to risk of revictimization, mental health, substance abuse, PTSD, and posttraumatic growth outcomes. Her book "Talking About Sexual Assault: Society’s Response to Survivors" was published by the American Psychological Association in 2010.
- Applied Social Psychology
- Causal Attribution
- Gender Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Helping, Prosocial Behavior
- Sociology, Social Networks
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- Ullman, S. E. (2010). Talking about sexual assault: Society’s response to survivors. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
- Ullman, S. E., Najdowski, C., & Adams, E. (2012). Women, Alcoholics Anonymous, and mutual aid groups: Review and recommendations for research. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 30, 443-486.
- Najdowski, C., & Ullman, S. E. (2011). The effects of revictimization on coping in women sexual assault victims. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 24, 218-221.
- Ullman, S. E., & Najdowski, C. J. (2011). Prospective changes in attributions of self-blame and social reactions to women’s disclosures of adult sexual assault. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26, 1934-1962.
- Ullman, S. E., & Najdowski, C. J. (2009). Revictimization as a moderator of psychosocial risk factors for problem drinking in female sexual assault survivors. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 70, 41-49.
- Najdowski, C. J., & Ullman, S. E. (2009). PTSD and self-rated recovery among adult sexual assault survivors: The effects of traumatic life events and psychosocial variables. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33, 43-53.
- Najdowski, C. J., & Ullman, S. E. (2009). Prospective effects of sexual victimization on PTSD and problem drinking. Addictive Behaviors 34, 965-968.
- Starzynski, L. L., Ullman, S. E., Townsend, S. M., Long, L. L., & Long, S. (2007). What factors predict women’s disclosure of sexual assault to mental health professionals? Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 619-638.
- Ullman, S. E., Townsend, S. M., Filipas, H. H., & Starzynski, L. L. (2007). Structural models of the relations of assault severity, social support, avoidance coping, self-blame, and PTSD among sexual assault survivors. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 31, 23-37.
- Ullman, S. E., Filipas, H. H., Townsend, S. M., & Starzynski, L. (2007). Psychosocial correlates of PTSD symptom severity in sexual assault survivors. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 20, 821-831.
- Ullman, S. E., & Townsend, S. M. (2007). Barriers to working with sexual assault survivors: A qualitative study of rape crisis center workers. Violence Against Women, 13, 412-443.
- Ullman, S. E. (2007). Asking participants about abuse and trauma. American Psychologist, 62, 329-330.
- Ullman, S. E. (2007). A 10-year update on “Review and Critique of Empirical Studies of Rape Avoidance.” Criminal Justice and Behavior, 34, 411-429.
- Filipas, H. H., & Ullman, S. E. (2006). Child sexual abuse, coping responses, self-blame, PTSD, and adult sexual revictimization. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21, 652-672.
- Ullman, S. E., Filipas, H. H., Townsend, S. M., & Starzynski, L. (2005). Trauma exposure, PTSD, and problem drinking among sexual assault survivors. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 66, 610-619.
- Brecklin, L. R., & Ullman, S. E. (2004). Correlates of post-assault self-defense/assertiveness training participation for sexual assault survivors. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 28, 147-158.
- Ullman, S. E. (2003). A critical review of field studies on the link of alcohol and adult sexual assault in women. Aggression and Violent Behavior: A Review Journal, 8, 471-486.
- Ullman, S. E., & Brecklin, L. (2002). Sexual assault history, PTSD, and mental health service seeking in a national sample of women. Journal of Community Psychology, 30, 1-19.
- Ullman, S. E. (2000). Psychometric characteristics of the Social Reactions Questionnaire: A measure of reactions to sexual assault victims. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 24, 257-271.
- Ullman, S. E., Foynes, M., & Tang, S. (2010). Sexual trauma disclosure: Implications for research and clinical practice. Special Issue of Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 11, 127-259.
- Research Methods
- Sexual Assault
- Theories of Personality
Sarah E. Ullman
Department of Criminology, Law and Justice
University of Illinois at Chicago
1007 W. Harrison Street
Chicago, IL 60607-7140
- Phone: (312) 996-6679
- Fax: (312) 996-8355