Examining the Roles of Heavy Episodic Drinking, Drinking Venues, and Sociosexuality in College Men's Sexual Aggression

J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2019 Mar;80(2):177-185. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2019.80.177.


Objective: College men's alcohol consumption is positively associated with sexual aggression perpetration, yet men's drinking does not typically predict later sexual assault after accounting for risk factors, such as impersonal sexuality. In the present study, we tested an indirect effects model whereby college men's impersonal sex orientation and heavy episodic drinking (HED) were hypothesized to contribute to sexual aggression perpetration via more frequent attendance at drinking venues (parties, bars).

Method: Freshman males (N = 1,043) were recruited to participate in a five-semester study. Key measures included the Sociosexuality Index as a measure of impersonal sex attitudes and behaviors, frequency of HED, and frequency of attending drinking venues (parties, bars). The dichotomous outcome measure was based on the Sexual Strategies Survey, a measure of tactics used to convince a female partner to have sex. Structural equation modeling was used to examine whether sociosexuality attitudes, sociosexuality behaviors, and HED (all measured at Wave 1) would have direct and indirect effects on use of Wave 5 sexual aggression tactics, through effects on Wave 3 venue attendance.

Results: The model supported the hypothesized indirect effects of sociosexuality and HED via men's subsequent drinking venue attendance and was preferred over alternative models.

Conclusions: College men who more frequently attended drinking "hot spots" were more likely to perpetrate subsequent sexual aggression, supporting a growing body of evidence on the importance of drinking venues in college sexual assault. Findings also help to explicate the mechanism underlying the robust role of impersonal sex orientation in sexual aggression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Attitude
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult