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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2009 Jan;70(1):41-9.

Revictimization as a moderator of psychosocial risk factors for problem drinking in female sexual assault survivors.

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Department of Criminology, Law, and Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1007 West Harrison Street, M/C 141, Chicago, Illinois 60607, USA.



Adult sexual assault (ASA) survivors report greater levels of problem drinking than do other women, and research suggests that their coping strategies, reactions from their social networks, and traumatic life events affect their problem drinking. The links between these factors and problem drinking may be moderated by whether survivors are revictimized, yet research has not examined this possibility. Therefore, the current study examined psychosocial factors, problem drinking, and revictimization in women ASA survivors.


Community-dwelling urban women (n = 555) who had experienced an ASA completed a mail survey at Time 1 (T1) and were resurveyed 1 year later to examine how revictimization between survey waves moderated the effects of coping strategies, social reactions to assault disclosures, and traumatic life events on problem drinking at Time 2 (T2).


The findings showed that recent revictimization that occurred between surveys was related to increased problem drinking at T2, after T1 problem drinking was controlled for. Moderated hierarchical multiple regressions showed that survivors who engaged in drinking to cope with distress, who received negative social reactions in response to recent assault disclosures, or who experienced additional traumatic events had increased T2 problem drinking only if they were revictimized since T1.


Psychosocial factors relate to increases in problem drinking for sexually revictimized women but not for nonrevictimized women. Interventions to reduce problem drinking in women ASA survivors should target drinking to cope with assault-related symptomatology, informal social networks to improve their supportiveness, and safety issues through risk-reduction education and self-defense training for women when appropriate.

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