By David Lee on January 12, 2010 · tagged as , , , ,

Alcohol’s Role in Sexual Coercion

In a study recently published in the journal Substance Use and Misuse the authors explore factors related to sexual abuse perpetrators.  The study examines the role of alcohol while men watched a video in which a young man and woman engaged in consensual kissing and touching and then were asked to imagine how they would respond if they wanted to have sex, but the woman was unwilling because a condom was not available.

The findings appear to highlight that multiple factors (alcohol consumption, hostility, misperception) interact; so there are no “magic bullets” to address the issue.  The authors explore potential prevention implications. These suggestions (targeted interventions that help men identify the effects that alcohol has on their treatment of women; communication skills programs and brief interventions using elements of motivational interviewing and nonconfrontational techniques) are not tested in the study.

The full abstract and link to the study on the Journal’s web site follow the jump.

Alcohol’s role in men’s use of coercion to obtain unprotected sex.

Abbey A, Parkhill MR, Jacques-Tiura AJ, Saenz C. Substance Use And Misuse 2009; 44(9-10): 1329-48.

Click here for a link to the abstract on the journal’s web site.

(Copyright © 2009, Taylor and Francis Group)

Past sexual victimization has been identified as a predictor of women’s sexual risk-taking. In order to develop effective prevention and treatment programs, research is needed that examines perpetrators’ characteristics. Thus, the goal of this study was to examine predictors of men’s willingness to use coercive strategies to obtain sex without a condom. Male college students (n = 72) completed a survey that assessed past sexual assault perpetration, hostility, past misperception of women’s sexual cues, usual alcohol consumption, and usual condom use. One month later, they participated in an alcohol administration study and watched a video about a couple in a consensual sexual situation. Participants were asked to evaluate how justified they would be in using a variety of coercive strategies to make the woman have unprotected sex. In hierarchical multiple regression analyses, there was a significant main effect of past perpetration such that men who had previously committed sexual assault felt more justified using coercive strategies to obtain unprotected sex than did nonperpetrators. Acute alcohol consumption did not have a main effect; however, it interacted with hostility and misperception. Among participants who consumed alcohol prior to watching the video, the greater their preexisting hostility, the more justified they felt in using coercion. Similarly, the more frequently drinkers had misperceived women’s sexual intentions in the past, the more justified they felt in using coercion. Based on these findings, several specific suggestions are made for prevention and treatment programs, including targeted communication skills and normative feedback interventions.

David Lee

More Posts by David Lee

David S. Lee, MPH, is the Director of Prevention Services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault where he provides training and technical assistance on prevention. David manages the national project PreventConnect, an online community of violence against women prevention practitioners, funders, researchers and activists. For over 27 years David has worked in efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Virginia Scarbrough January 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Reguarding David Lee I think what he is doing is great!!!! I am very interested in some of his on line trainings and other trainings I work for Rape Crisis in Chico, Ca. and do crisis counciling and education. Please respond Thank you…

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