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A Randomized Controlled Trial Targeting Alcohol Use and Sexual Assault Risk Among College Women at High Risk for Victimization

NCJ Number
Behavior Research and Therapy Volume: 74 Dated: 2015 Pages: 38-49
Amanda K. Gilmore; Melissa A. Lewis; William H. George
Date Published
12 pages

The authors present their research study that used a randomized control trial to assess the effectiveness of a web-based, combined sexual assault risk and alcohol-use reduction program, discussing their research methodology, outcomes, and implications for risk reduction programs.


Sexual assault risk reduction programs do not target alcohol use, despite the widespread knowledge that alcohol use is a risk factor for potential victimization. The current study assessed the effectiveness of a web-based combined sexual assault risk and alcohol use reduction program using a randomized control trial. A total of 207 college women between the ages of 18 and 20 who engaged in heavy episodic drinking were randomized to one of five conditions: full assessment only control condition, sexual assault risk reduction condition, alcohol use reduction condition, combined sexual assault risk and alcohol use reduction condition, and a minimal assessment-only condition. Participants completed a three-month follow-up survey on alcohol-related sexual assault outcomes, sexual assault outcomes, and alcohol use outcomes; significant interactions revealed that women with higher severity of sexual assault at baseline experienced fewer incapacitated attempted or completed rapes, less severity of sexual assaults, and engaged in less heavy, episodic drinking compared to the control condition. The authors conclude that web-based risk reduction programs targeting both sexual assault and alcohol use may be the most effective way to target the highest risk sample of college students for sexual assault: those with a sexual assault history and those who engage in heavy, episodic drinking. Publisher Abstract Provided