EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL INTOXICATION AND VICTIMIZATION HISTORY ON WOMEN'S SEXUAL ASSAULT RESISTANCE INTENTIONS: THE ROLE OF SECONDARY COGNITIVE APPRAISALS

Authors


  • Susan A. Stoner, Jeanette Norris, N. Tatiana Masters, and Danielle M. Hessler, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington; William H. George and Kelly Cue Davis, Department of Psychology, University of Washington.

  • Tatiana Masters and Kelly Davis are now at the School of Social Work, University of Washington.

  • This research was supported by grants AA012219 and AA014512 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to the second author and by grant AA013565 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to the third author.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Susan Stoner, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington, 1107 NE 45th St., Ste. 120, Seattle, WA 98105. E-mail: sastoner@u.washington.edu

Abstract

This study used an experimental paradigm to investigate the role of secondary cognitive appraisals in women's sexual assault resistance and whether these appraisals mediated influences of alcohol and prior victimization. After consuming a beverage (control, placebo, moderate, or high dose), 351 women projected themselves into a simulated interaction with a sexually aggressive man. Four types of secondary appraisals (shock at the man's behavior, concern about his feelings, uncertainty in the situation, conflict about what to do) and three resistance strategies (assertive, polite, passive) were examined. Path modeling revealed that, as expected, intoxication and prior sexual victimization influenced secondary appraisals, which in turn influenced intended resistance. Prior adult sexual assault (ASA) and childhood sexual abuse (CSA) also had direct effects: ASA negatively predicted assertive resistance and CSA positively predicted passivity. Findings suggest that secondary appraisals are key targets for intervention to facilitate effective resistance, thereby reducing the risk of adult sexual victimization.

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