Alcohol-Involved Sexual Assault and Mental Health Outcomes: The Role of Alcohol Use Characteristics
Granato, Hollie Fay
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College is a period of heightened risk for alcohol-involved sexual assault (AIA). The overarching aims of this project were to describe and evaluate variations among alcohol use characteristics (AUCs) during AIAs and how AUCs relate to assault severity, post-assault alcohol use, and mental health outcomes. All findings are based on cross-sectional surveys given to underage college women between the ages of 18 to 20. Study 1 identified different AIA patterns based on participants’ sexual assault history and AUCs during an index AIA. Study 2 supported four hypotheses that (1) AUCs, (2) consuming four or more drinks within a two-hour period (HED), and (3) party venues were associated with worse assault severity (likelihood of penetration, injury, and distress), and that (4) AUCs were highest for AIAs at parties. Finally, Study 3 supported four hypotheses: (1) women with any sexual assault history reported worse mental health than those without; (2) women with an AIA history reported the worst alcohol use outcomes of all participants; (3) among women who had experienced an AIA, higher AUCs were linked to worse post-assault drinking; that (4) links between AUCs and outcomes were mediated by assault severity. Taken together, findings indicate that examining AUCs during sexual assault may enrich our understanding of alcohol’s role in the assault and post-assault outcomes.
- Psychology