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Journal Article


Neilson EC, Bird ER, Metzger IW, George WH, Norris J, Gilmore AK. Addict. Behav. 2017; 78: 178-186.


Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, National Crime Victims Research & Training Center, Charleston, SC, 29425, United States.


(Copyright © 2017, Elsevier Publishing)






INTRODUCTION: Sexual assault history and alcohol use are associated with higher likelihood of subsequent sexual assault. Alcohol use and drinking to cope are associated with re-assault, but it is unclear whether these factors are associated with malleable constructs like sexual assault risk perception. This study examined typical weekly drinking and drinking to cope motive as factors underlying the association between sexual assault history and risk perception.

METHODS: Both perceived likelihood of experiencing incapacitated sexual assault and when to leaving a hypothetical sexual assault scenario were assessed as indicators of sexual assault risk perception. 660 female college students recruited from psychology courses completed questionnaires online.

RESULTS: Results revealed that sexual assault history severity was positively associated with perceived incapacitated sexual assault likelihood and when to leave a risky scenario. Drinking to cope with anxiety was positively associated with perceived incapacitated sexual assault likelihood. Among women who reported regular drinking, typical weekly drinking was positively associated with when to leave a risky scenario, such that women who reported more weekly drinks stayed in a potentially risky scenario longer than women who reported fewer weekly drinks.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that alcohol use and drinking to cope with anxiety are associated with risk perception. Sexual assault history was associated with both perceived incapacitated sexual assault likelihood and when to leave a hypothetical scenario. Alcohol use and drinking to cope are two potential points of intervention for sexual assault risk reduction programs, but further examination is needed.

Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Language: en


College women; Drinking to cope; Risk perception; Sexual assault


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