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Female Sexual Victimization Among College Students: Assault Severity, Health Risk Behaviors, and Sexual Functioning.

Turchik JA, Hassija CM. Female Sexual Victimization Among College Students: Assault Severity, Health Risk Behaviors, and Sexual Functioning. Journal of interpersonal violence. 2014 Sep 1; 29(13):2439-2457.

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The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between college women's sexual victimization experiences, health risk behaviors, and sexual functioning. A sample of 309 college women at a mid-sized Midwestern university completed measures assessing sexual victimization, sexual risk taking, substance use behaviors, sexual desire, sexual functioning, prior sexual experiences, and social desirability. Severity of sexual victimization was measured using a multi-item, behaviorally specific, gender-neutral measure, which was divided into four categories based on severity (none, sexual contact, sexual coercion, rape). Within the sample, 72.8% (n = 225) of women reported at least one experience of sexual victimization since age 16. Results from MANCOVAs and a multinomial logistic regression, controlling for social desirability and prior sexual experience, revealed that sexual victimization among female students was related to increased drug use, problematic drinking behaviors, sexual risk taking, sexual dysfunction, and dyadic sexual desire. In addition, findings indicated that women exposed to more severe forms of sexual victimization (i.e., rape) were most likely to report these risk-taking behaviors and sexual functioning issues. Implications for sexual assault risk reduction programming and treatment are discussed.

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