Alcohol Consumption and Use of Sexual Assault and Drinking Protective Behavioral Strategies: A Diary Study

Nichole M. Sell, Rob Turrisi, Nichole M. Scaglione, Michael J. Cleveland, Kimberly A. Mallett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Heavy drinking is a risk factor for sexual assault. Although protective behavioral strategies (PBS) tend to be associated with reduced alcohol consumption, there are studies showing differential benefits for using these strategies. The current study extended the research on PBS and drinking by examining daily associations between alcohol consumption and sexual assault PBS (e.g., letting others know one’s whereabouts) versus stopping or limiting drinking PBS (e.g., planning to stop drinking at a predetermined time) and manner of drinking PBS (e.g., avoiding mixing alcohol types). Women who are heavy episodic drinkers attending a northeastern university (N = 69) completed 14 daily reports of alcohol consumption and PBS use. Using multilevel modeling, we examined associations between alcohol consumption and PBS types across days and PBS users. Alcohol consumption increased with greater use of sexual assault PBS and decreased with greater use of stopping or limiting drinking and manner of drinking PBS. Findings suggest differential benefits for specific PBS. Clinicians, teachers, and parents can provide a menu of options for reducing sexual assault risk by encouraging women to use sexual assault and drinking PBS together. Online slides for instructors who want to use this article for teaching are available on PWQ’s website at

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-71
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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