Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Interpersonal Violence (advance access 2015), 25pp.; doi: 10.1177/0886260515591280


Copyright © 2015 Kimberly A. Tyler, Rachel M. Schmitz, and Scott A. Adams. Published by SAGE Publications; used by permission.


College students have high rates of heavy drinking, and this dangerous behavior is strongly linked to sexual victimization. Although research has examined risk factors for sexual assault, few studies have simultaneously studied the various pathways through which risks may affect sexual assault and how these pathways may be uniquely different among females and males. As such, the current study uses path analyses to examine whether alcohol expectancies mediate the relationship between social factors (e.g., hooking up, amount friends drink) and drinking behavior and experiencing sexual victimization, and whether drinking behavior mediates the relationship between alcohol expectancies and sexual victimization among a college sample of 704 males and females from a large Midwestern university. For both females and males, sexual victimization was positively associated with child sexual abuse, hooking up more often, and heavier drinking, whereas greater alcohol expectancies were associated with sexual victimization only for females. Several mediating pathways were found for both females and males. Gender comparisons revealed that some of the pathways to sexual victimization such as hooking up, amount friends drink, and housing type operated differently for females and males.