College women report high rates of sexual victimization (Fisher et al., 2000;Koss et al., 1987). One of the more serious consequences of sexual victimization is that, once victimized, women are at increased risk for future victimization (Gidycz et al., 1993;Messman-Moore &Long, 2003). To date, the mechanisms responsible for both sexual victimization and revictimization remain unclear. Thus, research that identifies etiological factors that increase women's risk for sexual victimization and revictimization is of great importance from a public health perspective, as this information will help inform the development of future interventions for women who are at risk for being victimized. The goal of the proposed study is to test a theoretical model of women's risk for sexual victimization. This model posits that difficulties judging risk and choosing risk-reducing responses to social situations mediate the relationship between a history of sexual victimization and revictimization. It also posits that these difficulties will predict future victimization, regardless of whether womn report a previous victimization experience. Due to the robust relationship between alcohol use and risk for sexual victimization (Abbey et al., 2000;Gidycz et al., 2007), it is expected that aspects of women's alcohol use, specifically, alcohol problems and expectancies that alcohol enhances sexual experience, will moderate the associations among the model constructs. Exploratory goals of the present work are to examine the effects of psychopathology, sexual attitudes, trait disinhibition, ethnicity, and any occurrence of victimization during the study on women's risk judgments and response choices. To test this theoretical model, college women will be followed prospectively for 6 months. At baseline, participants will complete tasks assessing their risk judgments and response choices to risky dating and social situations. They also will complete questionnaires assessing past victimization experiences, aspects of their alcohol use, psychopathology, sexual attitudes, and trait disinhibition. Participants will again complete the tasks and questionnaires at follow-up. The results of the proposed study will reveal whether difficulties with risk judgment and response choice predict sexual victimization among college women, as well as whether aspects of their alcohol use moderate this relationship.

Public Health Relevance

College women report high rates of sexual victimization and revictimization. The goal of this study is to test a theoretical model of their risk for sexual assault. This model posits that difficulties making risk judgments and response choices to risky situations mediate the relationship between a history of sexual victimization and revictimization. It also posits that these difficulties will predict future victimization, regardless of whether womn report a previous victimization experience. We will examine whether aspects of women's alcohol use moderate the hypothesized meditational links in the model. College women will be followed prospectively for 6 months. At baseline, participants will complete tasks assessing their risk judgments and response choices to risky situations, as well as questionnaires assessing past victimization experiences and aspects of their alcohol use. They will again complete these tasks and questionnaires at follow-up. Testing this model is highly significant from a public health perspective, as this work will directly inform the content development for a preventive intervention for at-risk women that would target women's processing of risk-relevant information and their ability to provide risk-reducing responses to high risk situations.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Type
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
1R21AA021878-01A1
Application #
8628378
Study Section
Health Services Research Review Subcommittee (AA)
Program Officer
Freeman, Robert
Project Start
2014-02-05
Project End
2016-01-31
Budget Start
2014-02-05
Budget End
2015-01-31
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
$225,956
Indirect Cost
$72,164
Name
University of New Mexico
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
868853094
City
Albuquerque
State
NM
Country
United States
Zip Code
87131