Problematic alcohol use and sexting as risk factors for sexual assault among college women

Allyson L. Dir, Elizabeth N. Riley, Melissa A. Cyders, Gregory T. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual assault is a major public health concern and college women are four times more likely to experience sexual assault than any other group. We investigated whether sexting is a mechanism by which alcohol use increases risk for college women to be targeted for sexual assault. We hypothesized that sexting would mediate the relationship between problem drinking and sexual assault, such that drinking (T1 = beginning fall semester) would contribute to increased sexting (T2 = end fall semester), and in turn increase the risk of being targeted for sexual assault (T3 = end spring semester). Results: Among 332 undergraduate women (M(SD)age = 19.15(1.69), 76.9% Caucasian), sexting (T2) predicted sexual assault (T3; b = 3.98, p =.05), controlling for baseline sexual assault (b = 0.82, p <.01). Further, sexting (T2) mediated the relationship between problem drinking (T1) and sexual assault (T3) (b = 0.04, CI[.004,.12]). Conclusion: Findings suggest that sexting is one mechanism through which drinking increases the risk of college women being targeted for sexual assault.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-560
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of American College Health
Volume66
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 3 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, (F31AA2282).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

  • Alcohol use
  • sexting
  • sexual assault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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