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Research Summary

Alcohol and Aggression Experienced by College Women

Many studies have linked alcohol with sexual assault and rape on college campuses. To examine whether alcohol consumption is temporally related to victimization among college women, researchers interviewed 94 female college students in New York (using a validated calendar method) to determine daily alcohol intake and experiences of sexual and non-sexual aggression over a 6-week period.

  • Fourteen women (15%) experienced at least 1 incident of sexual aggression (ranging from unwanted contact to coerced sexual intercourse), while 19 (20%) experienced at least 1 incident of non-sexual aggression (physical violence such as being pushed, kicked, hit, or threatened with a knife).
  • Women were significantly more likely to experience sexual aggression (odds ratio, OR, 9.0) and non-sexual aggression (OR 7.5) on days they had consumed >=5 drinks than on days when they had abstained.
  • They were also significantly more likely to experience sexual aggression (OR 3.2) and non-sexual aggression (OR 2.9) on days they had consumed <5 drinks than on days they had abstained.

Comments:

This small study provides further evidence that alcohol increases college women's risk of experiencing sexual and non-sexual aggression. Its findings support efforts on college campuses to teach female students the dangers of alcohol (especially heavier intake) and ways to adopt lower-risk drinking habits. These efforts must be coupled with initiatives that focus on perpetrators and address the role alcohol plays in their violent actions.

Rosanne T. Guerriero, MPH

Reference:

Parks KA, Fals-Stewart W. The temporal relationship between college women's alcohol consumption and victimization experiences. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2004;28(4):625–629.
(view abstract)


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