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Role of Alcohol Expectancies and Alcohol Consumption Among Sexually Victimized and Nonvictimized College Women

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 16 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2001 Pages: 297-311
William R. Corbin; Jeffrey A. Bernat; Karen S. Calhoun; Lilly D. McNair; Karl L. Seals
Date Published
April 2001
This study examined the influence of alcohol expectancies (beliefs one holds about the effects of alcohol on behavior), alcohol consumption, sexual assertiveness, and the number of consensual sexual partners on sexual-assault victimization among three groups of college women: nonvictimized, moderately victimized, and severely victimized.
Participants were 238 female undergraduates recruited from the undergraduate psychology research pool at a large southeastern university. Sexual victimization was measured with Koss' Sexual Experiences Survey, which was used to assess varying degrees of sexual victimization experienced since the age of 14. Alcohol expectancies were measured with the Alcohol Expectancy Questionnaire. The likelihood of sexual activity following alcohol consumption was determined with the Alcohol and Sexual Behavior Scale. The Daily Drinking Questionnaire, the Sexual Assertiveness Scale, and a four-item Sexual History Questionnaire measured alcohol consumption, sexual assertiveness, and sexual behavior, respectively. Consistent with the findings of a similar previous study by Norris et al. (1996), the study found that women with a history of attempted or completed rape reported greater alcohol consumption, more consensual sexual partners, and less likelihood of resisting unwanted sexual advances compared with nonvictimized women. Severely victimized women were found not only to drink more often, but also to have greater expectations of positive effects from alcohol consumption. Severely victimized women anticipated more relaxation following alcohol consumption. It has been well documented that women who consume alcohol are perceived by men to be more sexually available and more willing to engage in sexual activity. Thus, men's attributions regarding women's alcohol consumption, coupled with the resulting impairment in women's perception of risk as well as their less assertive sexual behavior, create a potentially dangerous dynamic of risk factors for sexual assault for these women. 1 table and 27 references