Understanding the Role of Pre-Game Drinking Motives with Sexual Assault for American and Spanish Women

SEXUAL-ASSAULT1Pre-gaming is a common drinking experience for many college students and occurs cross-culturally, with specific attention on Spain and the United States (Begona, et. al., 2012). Pre-gaming is defined as consuming alcohol before attending a social function (e.g. a party, going to the bar) (DeJong, DeRicco, & Schneider, 2010) and can be used as an event in which to binge drink. Binge drinking is associated in women’s engagement in pre-gaming behaviors and their motives to drink which put them at an elevated risk of sexual assault while intoxicated (Borsari, Boyle, Hustad, Barnett, Tevyaw & Kahler, 2007).

In both Spain and the United States students report pre-gaming, and experiencing negative consequences from their alcohol consumption such as sexual assault (Abbey, Zawacki & Buck, et. al., 2010). Despite the strong relationship between alcohol consumption and sexual assault, there is a paucity of research examining pre-gaming motives role with sexual assault.

The purpose of this study was to examine American and Spanish women’s pregaming motives in relation to their sexual assault experiences. Participants were 117 U.S. women, mean age 18, and 113 Spanish women, mean age 23, who completed an online survey on pre-game drinking motives (Copper, 1984) and sexual assault experiences (Koss, 1987). Correlational analyses were conducted between experiences of incapacitated sexual assault and three drinking motives: drinking for fun, drinking as a distraction and drinking to ease social anxiety for both American and Spanish women.

Drinking for fun (= .63) and drinking as a distraction () were not significantly associated with sexual assault for American women. Similarly, drinking for fun (p= .09) and drinking as a distraction (p= .16) were not significantly associated with sexual assault for Spanish women. There was a significant correlation between incapacitated sexual assault and the social anxiety drinking motive for Spanish women (r (111) = .31, p <.01).

Social anxiety was not correlated with American women’s assault experiences (p=.68). Speculatively, pre-game drinking motives may not correctly identify American women’s motives to pregame which would explain the differing results when compared to Spanish women.

Regardless of cultural differences, sexual assault is a pervasive problem in the United States and Spain for college women. Future research should include societal and gender roles differences when observing drinking motives in women.

Authors:Kyra Suarez, Tiffany Marcantonio & D.J. Angelone

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