A randomized controlled trial targeting alcohol use and sexual assault risk among college women at high risk for victimization

Behav Res Ther. 2015 Nov:74:38-49. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2015.08.007. Epub 2015 Aug 29.


Sexual assault risk reduction programs do not target alcohol use despite the widespread knowledge that alcohol use is a risk factor for being victimized. 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 3-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 less incapacitated attempted or completed rapes, less severity of sexual assaults, and engaged in less heavy episodic drinking compared to the control condition at the 3-month follow-up. 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.

Keywords: Alcohol; College women; Sexual assault; Sexual revictimization; Web-based intervention.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcohol Drinking in College / psychology*
  • Alcohols
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Rape / prevention & control
  • Rape / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Sex Offenses / prevention & control*
  • Sex Offenses / psychology
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Women's Health
  • Young Adult


  • Alcohols