Sexual Assault in College Correlated with Context of Drinking

Researchers found 'drink setting' was more closely related to sexual assaults than binge drinking.
Published: December 13, 2016

A new study found that college students who went to bars or parties were more likely to have sexually assaulted a woman in the first five semesters of college.

Researchers say the study, which also found that binge drinking doesn’t increase the odds a male will be a sexual predator, shows that “drink setting” may be more predictive than drinking when it comes to sexual assault.

The study, which was based on a survey of nearly 1,000 college males, will be published in the January 2017 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

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After controlling for personality factors such as antisocial behavior, self-control problems and “impersonal” attitudes toward sex, the study’s authors found no link between men who binge drink (defined as having five or more drinks in a row) and sexual assault.

But, the researchers found, men who frequently go to parties or bars were more likely to commit sexual assaults even after factoring in the personality controls.

Lead researcher Maria Testa, Ph.D., noted that the survey did not gather data on the nature of sexual assaults, therefore no assaults could be directly tied to a night out or party, reports Science Daily.

Testa made some suggestions for preventing sexual assault at colleges, including adopting bystander intervention programs, emphasizing bar safety and enforcing age limits on bar entry.

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