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Prior substance abuse and related treatment history reported by recent victims of sexual assault

Resnick, Heidi S ; Walsh, Kate ; Schumacher, Julie A ; Kilpatrick, Dean G ; Acierno, Ron

Addictive Behaviors, April 2013, Vol.38(4), pp.2074-2079 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Prior substance abuse and related treatment history reported by recent victims of sexual assault
  • Author/Creator: Resnick, Heidi S ; Walsh, Kate ; Schumacher, Julie A ; Kilpatrick, Dean G ; Acierno, Ron
  • Language: English
  • Subjects: Rape ; Drug Abuse ; Alcohol Abuse ; Screening ; Referral ; Treatment ; Social Welfare & Social Work
  • Is Part Of: Addictive Behaviors, April 2013, Vol.38(4), pp.2074-2079
  • Description: To inform intervention approaches, the current study examined prevalence and comorbidity of recent use and history of abuse of alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs as well as history of substance treatment among a sample of female victims of sexual assault seeking post-assault medical care. Demographic variables and prior history of assault were also examined to further identify factors relevant to treatment or prevention approaches. Participants were 255 women and adolescent girls seeking post sexual assault medical services who completed an initial follow-up assessment on average within 3 months post-assault. The majority (72.9%) reported recent substance use prior to assault, approximately 40% reported prior substance abuse history, and 12.2% reported prior substance treatment history. Prior history of assault was associated with recent drug use and history of drug abuse as well as substance treatment. Among those with prior histories of substance abuse and assault, assault preceded substance abuse onset in the majority of cases. Almost all those with prior treatment history reported recent drug or alcohol use. A portion of sexual assault survivors seen for acute medical services may benefit from facilitated referral for substance abuse treatment in addition to counseling at the time of screening. Assessment and intervention approaches should target alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drug use and abuse. Substance use and associated impairment may serve as a rape tactic by perpetrators of assault. Substance use at the time of assault does not imply blame on the part of assault victims. Previous findings indicate that rape poses high risk of PTSD particularly among women with prior history of assault. Screening and intervention related to substance abuse should be done with recognition of the increased vulnerability it may pose with regard to assault and the high risk of PTSD within this population. ► We examine alcohol and drug abuse history in recent rape victims seeking medical care. ► We examine comorbid patterns of recent substance use among recent rape victims. ► We examine prevalence and correlates of prior substance treatment among rape victims. ► We examine prevalence and correlates of prior history of assault among rape victims. ► Order of onset of victimization and substance abuse history is examined.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0306-4603 ; E-ISSN: 1873-6327 ; DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.12.010