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Women and Alcohol Studies

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Angelone, D. J., Mitchell, D. & Pilafova, A. (2007) Club drug use and intentionality in perceptions of rape victims. Sex Roles, 57, 283-292.

This exploratory study investigated the influence of GHB use versus alcohol and intentionality on observer's feelings toward the victim and the perpetrator in a male-female rape scenario. The sample in this study consisted of 198 undergraduate students from a Northeastern college; the sample contained 130 females and was almost 80% Caucasian. The participants ranged in age from 18-48 but the mean was 19. Participants read one of four vignettes where a college female had attended a party and had ingested GHB or Everclear, a type of grain alcohol. In the different vignettes the female either ingested the substance voluntarily or was "slipped" the drug by a male, the vignette continued when the female became sleepy and the male brought her into his room and had sex with her, the victim attempted to verbally resist but felt too groggy to physically resist (Angelone, 2007, 286). The victim then reported the rape to police in the morning; the perpetrator claimed the sex was consensual. After the vignette participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire asking about victim and perpetrator culpability, victim pleasure, victim trauma, perpetrator guilt, and the likelihood the perpetrator will be found guilty (Angelone, 2007, 286). Overall the respondents found that the perpetrator was responsible for the crime, whether or not the victim chose to ingest the substance or not, also the participants felt the victim would be highly traumatized. Females were more likely to be sympathetic to the victim, being more likely to classify the situation as rape. Both males and females assigned more blame on the victim when she had voluntarily ingested either Everclear or GHB, also they put less blame on the perpetrator in the same situation, incidents like this were less likely to be considered rape by outside observers in this study.


Clum, G. A., Nishith, P. & Calhoun, K. S. (2002). A preliminary investigation of alcohol use during trauma and peritraumatic reactions in female sexual assault victims. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 15(4), 321-328.

This study looked to see the relationship between reports of alcohol use during a sexual assault and how the victim perceived the severity of the assault. This study looked at 57 college women from a Southeastern university who had been previously sexually assaulted, 84% were Caucasian and most were around the age of 19. Participants were asked to fill out several questionnaires in the presence of a research assistant. Researchers found that "alcohol may provide a way to explain the assault in a less threatening manner, for example, through the assignment of responsibility or blame to self and/or perpetrator" (Clum, 2002, 326).


Davis, K. C., George, W. H., & Norris, J. (2004). Women's responses to unwanted sexual advances: the role of alcohol and inhibition conflict. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 28, 333-343.

This article hypothesized that intoxicated women in a high-conflict situation would be more likely to consent to intercourse with their partners; however alcohol would not play a significant factor for women in low conflict situations. The researchers also expected to find that with intoxicated women as the male's sexual advances increase the women would report a higher rate of passive responding and a lower likelihood of resistance than sober women, regardless of relationship type (Davis, 2004, p. 335). The research sample contained 62 women from a large western university who were found through an advertisement in the school newspaper, a large majority of the women were white, the mean age was 22, and most of the women were single at the time of the study. The researchers conducted this experiment by serving three drinks to the participants the control group received only orange juice while the experimental group received orange juice and vodka, after fifteen minutes both groups read a series of vignettes. The vignettes went through three different situations, the participants were asked to put themselves in the situations portrayed in the vignettes and answer questions through the story about what they would do ask their male partner made sexual advances. The vignettes put the women into three different situations one was a casual relationship, the second was a serious relationship and the third led to a rape threat. The researchers found that women who have been drinking are more likely to consent to intimate sexual activity than sober women; intoxicated women reported a greater likelihood of passive responding which can be construed by the male as consent (Davis, 2004, p. 340). However once faced with the threat of rape women's responses did not vary according to the type of relationship they had with the male or the amount of alcohol consumed.

Gidycz, C. A., Loh, C., Lobo, T., Rich C., Lynn, S. J., & Pashdag, J. (2007). Reciprocal relationships among alcohol use, risk perception and sexual victimization: A prospective analysis. Journal of American College Health, 56(1), 5-14.

The hypothesis in this article was that women are more likely to be sexually assaulted if they drink heavily and women with a previous history of sexual assault also have a history of drinking. The researches took a sample of 372 college women who were all enrolled in introductory psychology; the women were attending one of two mid-sized universities in the Midwest and Northeast. This study was a panel study; at the two-month follow up 361 women returned, after six months 257 women returned for the study. Almost all of the women were between 18 and 20 and seventy-nine percent were Caucasian. This panel study involved several questionnaires, during the first session women answered questions about demographics, any type of sexual victimization, alcohol use and perceived sexual risk the researchers used the Sexual Experiences Survey; a previously studied survey that. After two months the women were telephoned and surveyed again this time about any sexual victimization and their alcohol use during that two-month window. Six months after the original session the women were telephoned again and were asked a final survey similar to the second one. This study found high rates of sexual victimizations over relatively brief periods of time, also that women who were not sexually victimized in the past were not likely to be victimized during the two-month follow up period but that women who were victimized drank more and that alcohol was a significant factor if they were sexually assaulted again in the same time period (Gidycz, 2007, p. 12). The study clearly found that women who were at the highest risk for being assaulted, during the first two months, had been raped or someone had attempted to rape them prior to the study, with heavy drinkers in this category at the highest risk (Gidycz, 2007, p. 12). However the study also found that even the women who had the highest risk of being assaulted could reduce their risk by drinking less.


Louselle, M & Foqua, W. R. (2007). Alcohol's effects on women's risk detection in a date-rape vignette. Journal of Americal College Health, 55(5), 261-266.

This study hypothesized that women who had ingested alcohol would take longer to detect increasing levels of risk in a date-rape vignette as compared to a placebo control group (Louselle, 2007, 262). The study consisted of 42 women between the ages of 21 and 27 years old from Western Michigan University, the majority were Caucasian. The women were recruited through classroom announcements and posted recruitment signs (Louselle, 2007, 262). Participants in the study drank either a mixed alcoholic drink or a placebo and were then asked to listen to an audio taped vignette of a man and a woman on a date. The women were asked to stop the tape at the point when the man should stop any further sexual advances, the participants could then continue to listen to the rest of the tape. Researchers found that the response time for the group that had ingested alcohol was sufficiently longer, and that this group has allowed the scenario to progress to the point where the man had engaged in behavior that would meet the criteria for criminal sexual conduct in most states (Louselle, 2007, 264).


Step 2

1) The more alcohol a woman consumes the more likely she will become a victim of sexual assault.
a. The direction of association in this hypothesis is positive.
2) The independent variable is alcohol consumption.
a. Alcohol consumption can be assessed by a person's blood alcohol content, also by the frequency that the person drinks.
3) The dependent variable is sexual assault
a. Sexual assault is any sexual contact that is not wanted by one of the participants.
4) Alcohol consumption does not affect the likelihood of whether or not someone will become the victim of sexual assault.
5) As alcohol consumption goes up perception of risk of sexual assault goes down.
a. The direction of association in this hypothesis is negative.
6) The independent variable is alcohol
a. Alcohol consumption can be assessed by a person's blood alcohol content, also by the frequency that the person drinks.
7) The independent variable is risk perception.
a. Risk perception is a judgment a person makes about the situation they are in, and how much risk to personal safety, for example sexual assault, that this situation could have.
8) Alcohol consumption has no effect on risk perception in terms of sexual assault.

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