Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Christine Privott

Second Advisor

Dana M. Howell

Third Advisor

Amy Marshall


It is estimated that 1 in 4 women experience sexual violence while in college (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2006), which may result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Occupational therapy has been used to provide interventions for PTSD, but there is a gap in the literature addressing occupational therapy intervention for college students who have experienced sexual assault. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to inquire into students’ lived experiences of daily occupations while in college after having experienced sexual assault, through thematic analysis of data from two interviews conducted in Kentucky and Ohio. Six meaningful themes were developed: changes in emotion, challenges with academics, interruption of social patterns, changes to work routines, changes to self-care routines, and changes in sleep patterns. The essence of the participant’s lived stories emerged: sexual assault results in alterations to survivor’s emotions and daily occupations, disrupting participation and performance in college.