Sexual abuse history, alcohol intoxication, and women's sexual risk behavior

Rebecca L. Schacht, William H. George, Kelly Cue Davis, Julia R. Heiman, Jeanette Norris, Susan A. Stoner, Kelly F. Kajumulo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


We examined potential differences in women's likelihood of sexual risk taking in a laboratory setting based on alcohol intoxication and sexual abuse history. Participants (n = 64) were classified as non-sexually abused (NSA) or as having experienced sexual abuse in childhood only (CSA) or adulthood only (ASA) and randomly assigned to consume alcoholic (.06, .08, or .10% target blood alcohol content) or non-alcoholic drinks, after which participants read and responded to a risky sex vignette.Dependent measures included vaginal pulse mplitude, self-reported sexual arousal,likelihood of engaging in condom use and risky sexual behaviors described in the vignette, and mood. NSA and ASA women did not differ significantly on any dependent measures. CSA women reported significantly lower likelihood of condomuse and unprotected intercourse relative to NSA and ASA women. Intoxicated women reported significantly greater sexual arousal, positive mood, and likelihood of risky sex relative to sober women. Intoxicated CSA women reported significantly more likelihood of unprotected oral sex and less likelihood of condom use relative to intoxicated NSA and ASA and sober CSA women. CSA women's increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)may bedrivenbynon-condomuse and behavioral changes while intoxicated. These findings provide preliminary insight into situational influences affecting CSA women's increased STI risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)898-906
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol intoxication
  • Condom use
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual arousal
  • Sexual risk
  • Vaginal pulse amplitude

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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