Sexual assault history and its association with the use of drinking protective behavioral strategies among college women

Amanda K. Gilmore, Cynthia A. Stappenbeck, Melissa A. Lewis, Hollie F. Granato, Debra Kaysen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Objective: The current study examined the relationship between sexual assault history and drinking protective behavioral strategies (PBS). Given the relationship between sexual assault history and alcohol use, we hypothesized that after we controlled for drinking behavior, women with a childhood sexual abuse (CSA) history would use fewer drinking PBS than those without a CSA history. We also hypothesized that a history of adolescent/adult sexual assault (ASA) involving incapacitation and force would be associated with lower use of drinking PBS after controlling for CSA history and drinking behavior. Method: A total of 800 undergraduate college women completed a survey online. Results: Regression analyses indicated that the only sexual assault history type that was consistently related to all three types of drinking PBS was ASA involving incapacitation. Women with a history of incapacitated ASA were less likely to use any type of drinking PBS than women without such history. A history of other types of sexual assault (CSA, physically forced ASA, and verbally coerced ASA) was associated only with lower use of serious harm-reduction drinking PBS, such as going home with a friend or knowing the location of your drink. Conclusions: This was the first study to examine the relationship between different sexual assault histories and drinking PBS, and it furthers our understanding of the relationship between alcohol and sexual assault. Possible reasons for this relationship between ASA and PBS use are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-464
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


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