Professor researches drinking habits of young women

One in four female college students will be victimized sexually – and half of those incidents will involve alcohol‚ says psychology professor Amy Buddie.

Georgia (Mar 29, 2006) — One in four female college students will be victimized sexually – and half of those incidents will involve alcohol‚ says psychology professor Amy Buddie.

Intrigued by this data‚ Buddie and three other scholars began an investigation in 2003 called “Women Bar Drinkers: Exploring Risks for HIV‚” which received a $1.26 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism through 2007.

“We already knew that alcohol was a huge problem on campuses‚ but we wanted to delve in deeper‚” Buddie said. “We wanted to know whether drinking in bars is risky in terms of sexual assault.”

The sample study consists of 300 women who are 18−30 years old‚ are sexually active and report drinking in bars at least weekly. For three months‚ the women call a 1−800 number every day and answer automated questions about where they drank (at a bar or at home?) and about their sexual experiences‚ including assault and the use of protection. Counselors are available if someone does report being sexually assaulted.

“The research that is out there right now is retrospective‚ so there are biases and inconsistencies in people’s recollections‚” Buddie said. “We are collecting immediate data through very new technology‚ so it’s less fallible.”

The data is being collected by the Research Institute on Addictions at the University of Buffalo (N.Y.)‚ where Buddie worked from 2001 to 2003. This summer‚ she and her colleagues will begin analyzing the results of the phone survey to draw conclusions and possibly conduct follow−up research.

“If this turns out the way we think it will‚ we will be looking at implementing education and prevention programs‚” Buddie said.




 

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