Substance Use and Vulnerability to Sexual and Physical Aggression

A Longitudinal Study of Young Adults

Published in: Violence and Victims, v. 19, no. 5, Oct. 2004, p. 521-540

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2004

by Steven Martino, Rebecca L. Collins, Phyllis L. Ellickson

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Using data from 2,170 individuals who participated in Waves 8 (age 23) and 9 (age 29) of a multiyear panel study, this study examined whether alcohol and marijuana use in young adulthood increase one's risk for experiencing subsequent sexual or physical assault victimization, whether victim's own violent behavior or involvement in the sale of drugs explain any effects of substance use on victimization, and whether these associations differ by gender. Controlling for prior victimization, the authors found that marijuana use, but not alcohol use, predicted women's and men's subsequent sexual victimization and men's subsequent physical assault victimization, and that heavy alcohol use, but not marijuana use, predicted women's subsequent physical assault victimization. Whereas the links from marijuana use to victimization were explained by users' own violent behavior, the link from alcohol use to women's physical assault victimization was not.

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