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Addict Behav. 2007 Oct;32(10):2032-45. Epub 2007 Jan 11.

An acute post-sexual assault intervention to prevent drug abuse: updated findings.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425-0742, USA.


Sexual assault and rape routinely produce extreme distress and negative psychological reactions in victims. Further, past research suggests that victims are at increased risk of developing substance use or abuse post-rape. The post-rape forensic medical exam may itself exacerbate peritraumatic distress because it includes cues that may serve as reminders of the assault, thereby potentiating post-assault negative sequelae. To address these problems, a two-part video intervention was developed to take advantage of the existing sexual assault forensic exam infrastructure, and to specifically (a) minimize anxiety/discomfort during forensic examinations, thereby reducing risk of future emotional problems, and (b) prevent increased substance use and abuse following sexual assault. Updated findings with a sample of 268 sexual assault victims participating in the forensic medical exam and completing one or more follow-up assessments at: (1)<3 months post-assault; (2) 3 to 6 months post-assault; or (3) 6 months or longer post-assault indicated that the video was associated with significantly lower frequency of marijuana use at each time point, among women who reported use prior to the assault.

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