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J Interpers Violence. 2010 Dec;25(12):2217-36. doi: 10.1177/0886260509354887. Epub 2010 Jan 25.

Drug- or alcohol-facilitated, incapacitated, and forcible rape in relationship to mental health among a national sample of women.

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Department of Psychology, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA.


Rape is a well-established risk factor for mental health disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. However, most studies have focused on forcible rape tactics and have not distinguished these from tactics that involve drug or alcohol intoxication. The authors' aim was to examine correlates of PTSD and depression in a community sample of women, with particular emphasis on evaluating the unique effects of lifetime exposure to three specific rape tactics. A nationally representative sample of 3,001 noninstitutionalized, civilian, English- or Spanish-speaking women (aged 18-86 years) participated in a structured telephone interview by use of Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) technology. Multivariable models showed that history of drug or alcohol-facilitated rape tactics (OR = 1.87, p < .05) and history of forcible rape tactics (OR = 3.46, p < .001) were associated with PTSD. History of forcible rape was associated with depression (OR = 3.65, p < .001). Forcible rape tactics were associated with a number of factors that may have contributed to their stronger association with mental health outcomes, including force, injury, lower income, revictimization history, and labeling the event as rape. The results underscore the importance of using a behaviorally specific assessment of rape history, as rape tactic and multiple rape history differentially predicted psychopathology outcomes. The association between drug- or alcohol-facilitated rape tactics and PTSD suggests that these are important rape tactics to include in assessments and future studies.

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