Women's responses to sexual aggression: The effects of childhood trauma, alcohol, and prior relationship

Jeanette Norris, William H. George, Susan A. Stoner, N. Tatiana Masters, Tina Zawacki, Kelly Cue Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This study examined effects of alcohol consumption (control, moderate dose, high dose) and type of relationship (new, established) on women's responses to escalating male sexual aggression. The role of childhood trauma was also examined. After consuming a beverage, participants (N = 220) projected themselves into a story portraying a social interaction with a man that depicted escalating sexual aggression. The story was paused 3 times to assess assertive, polite, and passive resistance as well as consent. Alcohol consumption increased consent and interacted with type of relationship to increase passive resistance and with level of sexual aggression to increase polite resistance. Assertive resistance increased and other responses decreased as the man's sexual aggression escalated. Childhood trauma lowered consent initially and increased passive resistance when rape was threatened.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-411
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental and clinical psychopharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol administration
  • Child abuse history
  • Rape resistance
  • Sexual victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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