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Weekly Drinking and Binge Drinking Mediate the Association Between Drinking Location and Sexual Coercion

While it is already well known that alcohol use is a risk factor for sexual assault, alcohol use and sexual coercion experiences have not been studied as well. The current study focuses on instances of sexual coercion defined as “persistent attempts of sexual contact.” This focus is important because while coercion is often seen as a less severe form of sexual violence, it has been found that the outcomes from sexual coercion are often similar to rape when it comes to survivor depression and lower self-esteem.

295 female college students were recruited who had reported drinking at least once in the past 30 days and between the ages of 18 and 30. To collect data, questionnaires were given asking about alcohol consumption, drinking location, and sexual coercion. Drinking locations included bars/restaurants and off-campus parties. Other drinking locations were not examined due to low endorsement. The sexual coercion questionnaire asked participants if they experienced incidents such as “persistent kissing and touching,” “repeatedly asking,” “purposefully gave you drugs or alcohol,” and other similar incidents during the past 30 days.

Around 70% of participants reported drinking at off-campus parties or bars/restaurants in the past 30 days. 29.8% of participants reported experiencing sexual coercion in the past 30 days. Those participants who experiences sexual coercion also reported greater drinks per week, were more likely to report binge drinking, and drank more often at off-campus parties. Overall, it was found that drinking more at bars or off-campus parties was related to more alcohol use, which was then associated with greater likelihood of experiencing sexual coercion. This information is important for future research looking at characteristics of drinking location to reduce alcohol misuse and sexual coercions experiences. It is also beneficial information about sexual coercion risks when developing prevention program for specific drinking locations.

Take Away: While it is already known that alcohol use is a risk factor for sexual assault, this study specifically focuses on alcohol use locations and sexual coercion defined as “persistent attempts of sexual contact.” 295 female college students were recruited who filled out questionnaires asking about alcohol consumption, drinking location, and sexual coercion experiences. The researchers found that 29.8% of participants reported a sexual coercion experience and that these participants were more likely to report binge drinking and drinking at off-campus parties. These findings are important for future research looking for drinking location impact on alcohol misuse and sexual coercion experiences. It is also beneficial when providing prevention programs for specific drinking locations.

Ehlke, S. J., Kelley, M. L., & Braitman, A. L. (2019). Weekly Drinking and Binge Drinking Mediate the Association Between Drinking Location and Sexual Coercion. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 088626051987923. doi: 10.1177/0886260519879239

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