The proposed project is a competing renewal of R01AA016281 and will continue a program of research investigating the relationships among alcohol consumption, sexual victimization history, and STI/HIV-related risk taking in young adult women. The original project investigated the influence of women's alcohol intoxication, sexual victimization history, and partner characteristics on women's HIV-related sexual decision making through two alcohol administration experiments. Both extant research and findings from the original project suggest that emotions and emotion regulation constructs may provide a key explanatory linkage between: 1) sexual victimization and increased sexual risk taking and 2) alcohol consumption and increased sexual risk taking. However, because the bulk of the extant research has been descriptive and correlational, little is known about how emotions and emotion regulation constructs operate in-the-moment to influence women's sexual decision-making processes. Moreover, even less is known about how these emotional factors may mediate or moderate the effects of alcohol and sexual victimization history on risky sexual decisions. The present project addresses this knowledge gap through two methods: a 30 day daily diary assessment and a laboratory-based alcohol administration experiment. After completing a screening procedure and an online baseline survey, women aged 21-30 of elevated sexual risk (n = 600) will complete a 30 day daily diary assessment of their emotional states, emotion regulation strategies, and their drinking and sexual risk behaviors in order to evaluate the daily relationships among emotional states, emotion regulation, alcohol consumption, and risky sexual behavior. Upon completion of the daily diary period, the same participants will complete an in-lab experiment assessing the in-the-moment effects of alcohol intoxication and emotional context on risky sexual intentions. Generalized estimating equations will be used to examine the daily influence of emotional states and emotion regulation strategies on alcohol consumption and sexual risk behavior. Structural equation modeling and other regression-based analyses will be used to examine the experimental effects of alcohol intoxication and experimentally- manipulated emotional context on sexual risk intentions.
The proposed research will advance our understanding of daily and in-the-moment dynamics of emotional states, emotion regulation, and alcohol on HIV-related decision-making and behavior in women with and without a history of sexual victimization. Findings will greatly inform designers of prevention programs, who remain frustrated in their efforts to stem the spread of HIV in women and eager to learn of new and promising targets for intervention. The information gleaned from the proposed studies could be used to design HIV prevention programs that work for social-drinking women, particularly those with a history of victimization, a substantial but underserved population.
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