The Lab's Research

At the Anderson Sexual Violence Prevention Lab, our research focuses on examining the mechanisms of sexual victimization and sexual perpetration in an effort to inform better risk reduction and prevention programs, including the examination of various measurements for sexual violence constructs.

*Dr. Anderson will not be accepting applicants for the upcoming year*

Our Core Mission:

Our core mission is to provide solutions for ending sexual violence in an egalitarian and collaborative research lab environment.

Lab Updates:

Lab Wide Screening Questionnaire:

Thank you for your interest in our research. If you are thinking of participating, click to complete a brief screening questionnaire. This questionnaire screens for all our current studies (paid and unpaid) and updates at least yearly. (Updated 7/15/2021)

Lab Strengths:

  • Focus on under-researched areas within sexual violence
  • Solution-focused
  • Focus on intersections with other areas/disciplines; violence and psychology as hub sciences

Our People:

Dr. RaeAnn Anderson, PhD, our primary investigator, is a degreed and licensed Clinical Psychologist. Our lab members span the University of North Dakota’s sub-disciplines and colleges, including Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology (Education), Forensic Psychology, and Experimental Psychology.

Read about Dr. Anderson’s most recent research fellowship here:

We currently have 1 postdoc, 4 clinical/counseling doc students, 1 experimental doc student, 2 forensic masters students, 4 undergraduate students (approximately 40% have underrepresented minority status, not including women) that are active at various levels of participation, which is up to the mentee. We have a wealth of riches in that we have a surplus of students who want to work with us in our lab.

Language Choices:

  • Victim/Survivor: After reviewing the literature, our lab has decided to avoid the terms “survivor” and “victim” as using these terms results in a practice of labeling an individual’s experience without taking into consideration how they themselves define their experience in which they were harmed. Instead, we label the behavior, as in “the individual who was harmed” or “women who have experienced sexual violence.”
  • Sexual violence: We have also decided to use the term “sexual violence” instead of “sexual assault” considering that the first term includes a broader definition of experiences that can lead to harm (see the CDC report on sexual violence as an umbrella term). This kind of statement could also clarify issues of the many different terms in the literature being used to indicate different constructs, see Peterson et al., (2004), Fedina, Holmes, & Backes (2018) and Anderson et al., (2019) for how the variation in terms can wreak havoc.

Relevant citations regarding the issue of victim/survivor:

  • Hockett, J. M., & Saucier, D. A. (2015). A systematic literature review of “rape victims” versus “rape survivors”: Implications for theory, research, and practice. Aggression and Violent Behavior.
  • Schwark, S., & Bohner, G. (2019). Sexual violence—“victim” or “survivor”: News images affect explicit and implicit judgments of blame. Violence Against Women, 25(12), 1491–1509.
  • Williamson, J., & Serna, K. (2017). Reconsidering forced labels: Outcomes of sexual assault survivors versus victims (and those who choose neither). Violence Against Women, 107780121771126.

Research Overview:

  • Sexual Violence in Teens and Adults
    • Measurement
    • Sexual Victimization
      • Intervention
        • Intervention development
        • Mechanisms of self-defense
        • Mechanisms of repeated victimization across the lifespan
      • Underserved populations
        • Sexual minorities
        • Men
    • Sexual Perpetration
      • Intervention development
      • Psychological processes
        • Cognition/Self-perception (future growth area)
        • Alcohol

Current Study Projects and Data Collection:

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