Predictors of Sexual Harassment and Coercion Victimization Among College Students: The Role of Gender, Childhood Abuse, Alcohol Expectancy, and Victim-Perpetration Link

Kim Menard, San Jose State University

Research on sexual victimization consistently finds that prior sexual abuse (Koss & Dinero, 1989; Messman & Long, 1996) and alcohol consumption (Schwartz & Pitts, 1995) increase the risk of victimization. Interestingly, these same risk factors are also frequently identified among sexual perpetrators (Menard, Hall, Phung, Ghebrial, & Martin, 2003). The present study investigates risk factors for sexual harassment and coercion victimization among 426 college stuents. Results based on hierarchical linear and logistic regression indicate that gender, childhood abuse (sexual and neglect), and sexual harassment perpetration predict sexual harassment victimization. That is, females, with a history of child sexual abuse and neglect, who themselves harass others are more likely to be the victims of sexual harassment. Moreover, the role of alcohol expectancy is mediated by harassment perpetration. Sexual coercion victimization is predicted by gender, childhood neglect, alcohol expectancy, and sexual coercion perpetration. Specifically, females with a histoy of childhood neglect, high alcohol expectancies, and who themselves are coercive are more likely to be victimized. In addition, the effect of child sexual abuse was mediated by both alcohol expectancy and sexual coercion perpetration. The role of childhood abuse and alcohol expectancy on the victim-pereptrator link will be explored.

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Updated 05/20/2006