Appraisal and Coping Link Sexual Victimization History to Emotional Experience: A Multilevel Daily Diary Study**Portions of this study were presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association.
Sexual victimization (SV) history is common among college students and has many adverse effects on health, but little is known about whether these effects are explained by everyday stress and coping. Further, most studies conflate between- and within-person effects, limiting our understanding of distinct trait- versus state-level pathways. To address these gaps, we examined the multilevel association of SV history with contemporary positive and negative affect and somatic symptoms via daily control appraisals and coping (problem-focused, meaning-focused, and avoidance) with daily stressors. Online daily diary surveys assessed stress, appraisals, coping, affect, and somatization among 261 undergraduates with and without SV history over 11 consecutive days. Between- and within-person differences in appraisals, coping, affect, and somatic symptoms were examined using multilevel covariance modeling in a causal system, testing daily stressor type as a moderator of within-person effects. Across days, SV history was indirectly linked only to average positive affect via meaning-focused coping, with no other between-person indirect effects. At the within-person level, greater negative affect was experienced in the context of interpersonal stress, driven by greater problem-focused coping, greater positive affect was experienced in the context of academic stress, driven by greater control appraisals, and less positive and negative affect were experienced in the context of intrapersonal stress, driven by lower control appraisals and less problem-focused coping. SV may influence daily stress processes at multiple levels, depending on stressor type. Appraised control and active coping are potentially important but understudied ways in which SV history informs contemporary stress management.