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Increased alcohol consumption linked with greater use of sexual assault protective behavioral strategies

A new study sought to extend previous research related to protective behavioral strategies (PBS) and drinking by examining daily associations between alcohol consumption and sexual assault PBS (e.g., letting others know one’s whereabouts) versus stopping or limiting drinking PBS (e.g., planning to stop drinking at a predetermined time) and manner of drinking PBS (e.g., avoiding mixing alcohol types). Participants (N = 69) were college women attending a northeastern university. After completing a required training, participants took part in a 14-day diary protocol in which they completed a short survey on a mobile application each morning. The survey included a series of questions and measures regarding their drinking and PBS use the previous day. Sexual assault PBS was assessed using items, such as “had a trusted friend walk home with me,” adapted from the Dating Self-Protection Against Rape Scale (DSPARS). Stopping or limiting drinking PBS included items such as “determined in advance not to exceed a set number of drinks,” “alternated alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks,” and “stopped drinking at a predetermined time.” Manner of drinking PBS included items such as “avoided mixing different types of alcohol” and “avoided trying to keep up with or out-drink others.” The authors used multilevel modeling to examine associations between alcohol consumption and PBS types across days and PBS use. Results showed that there was a positive between-person association between sexual assault PBS and drinking (p = .03), indicating that on average, participants who used more sexual assault PBS consumed more drinks. In contrast, there was a negative between-person association between stopping or limiting drinking PBS and drinking (p = .04), indicating that on average, participants who used more stopping or limiting drinking PBS, consumed fewer drinks. Furthermore, there was a negative between-person association between manner of drinking PBS and drinking (p = .01). Similarly, the within-person association between sexual assault PBS and drinking was positive (p = .03), indicating that on days when participants used more than their average number of sexual assault PBS, they consumed more drinks. In contrast, there was a negative within-person association between stopping or limiting drinking PBS and drinking (p = .004), indicating that participants consumed fewer drinks on days when they used more than their average number of stopping or limiting drinking PBS. In addition, there was a negative within-person association between manner of drinking PBS and drinking (p = .01).

Take away: Among college women, alcohol consumption increased with greater use of sexual assault PBS while it decreased with greater use of stopping or limiting drinking and manner of drinking PBS.

Sell, N. M., Turrisi, R., Scaglione, N. M., Cleveland, M. J., & Mallett, K. A. (2018). Alcohol Consumption and Use of Sexual Assault and Drinking Protective Behavioral Strategies: A Diary Study. Psychology of Women Quarterly42(1), 62-71.

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