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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Sex-Related Alcohol Expectancies and Perceptions of Sexual Assault: Recognition Response Latency and Blame Attribution
by Rueff, Walter Thomas, Jr., Ph.D., The University of Mississippi, 2017, 76; 10615741
Abstract (Summary)

Alcohol use has often been linked with sexual violence. Pumphrey-Gordon and Gross (2007) note that “among the numerous factors that have been associated with the occurrence of sexual assault, the use of alcohol is the most reliable” (p. 476). Novel autonomy places undergraduates at a nexus alcohol use and sexual experiences, as well as the potential negative consequences of both. This confluence of factors contributes to proportionally higher rates of risky sexual behaviors and sexual assaults among undergraduates. Alcohol expectancies, beliefs about the outcomes and consequence of drinking alcohol, have been shown to influence drinking behaviors, which have, in turn, been linked with higher rates of sexual activity and an increased incidence of sexual assault. (Goldman & Roehrich, 1991; Cooper, Frone, Russell, & Mudar, 1995). Individuals’ endorsements of sex-related alcohol expectancies (SRAE) have also been demonstrated to be predictive of various potentially detrimental behaviors such as increased drinking, and risky sexual behaviors. However, research regarding the role of SRAE in people’s perceptions of sexual violence as third-party observers is scarce. The purpose of this present investigation is to build upon extant sexual assault literature related to alcohol consumption, AE, SRAE, and perceptions of sexual violence, with a particular emphasis on response latency (how quickly individuals are able to recognize assaultive behavior) and victim blame attribution.

This study evaluated the relationship between AE, SRAE, and perceptions of sexual assault using an audio vignette depicting an acquaintance rape (Marx & Gross, 1995). Measures assessing demographic factors, alcohol consumption patterns, AE, and SRAE were employed. Participants listened to the audio vignette depicting a sexual assault, which was prefaced as either involving alcohol or not involving alcohol, and were instructed to indicate when during the vignette the encounter had become inappropriate. They subsequently completed measures assessing blame attribution related to the vignette. It was expected that AE would account for unique variance in predicting response latency and victim blame attribution, after controlling for demographic factors, alcohol context, and drinking habits. It was also expected that SRAE would account for unique variance in response latency and victim blaming after all factors and AE were controlled for. These hypotheses were tested using hierarchical multiple regression analyses for response latency and victim blame models using the following steps: demographic factors (step 1), drinking habits (DDQ; step 2), alcohol context (step 3), AE (AEQ; step 4), and SRAE scores (AEQ SRAE subscale; step 5).

Findings indicate that, for response latency, AE was the only variable which was a unique predictor. For victim blame, demographic variables, alcohol context, and AE were all identified as unique predictors. SRAE were not found to account for unique variance in either model. Implications of findings are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gross, Alan M.
Commitee: Gustafson, Scott A., Knight, Kathy B., Wilson, Kelly G.
School: The University of Mississippi
Department: Psychology, Clinical
School Location: United States -- Mississippi
Source: DAI-B 79/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Psychology
Keywords: Alcohol expectancies, Rape, Sex related alcohol expectancies, Sexual assault, Sexual violence, Substance use
Publication Number: 10615741
ISBN: 978-0-355-30317-9
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