UCARE: Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences


Date of this Version

Spring 4-2020

Document Type



Krause, G.A., Tibbs, J.J., Tuliao, A., McChargue, D.E. (2020, April). Exploring Alcohol Use, Cannabis Use, and Desire to Dissociate in College Female Victims of Sexual Violence. Poster uploaded for digital presentation at the 2020 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Spring Research Fair, Lincoln, NE.


Copyright 2020 by the authors.


Almost 20% of undergraduate women experience some type of completed sexual assault before graduating college. Experiencing a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, has been shown to increase difficulties with emotion regulation, and both PTSD symptoms and emotion regulation difficulties have been associated with marijuana-use coping motives (Bonn-Miller et al., 2011). Additionally, prior research has found that emotion dysregulation predicts alcohol involved sexual assault (AISA) in the short term, and alcohol problems increases the risk for AISA in the long term (Messman-Moore et al., 2014). This suggests a cyclical relationship in coping drinking motives. This study seeks to further examine the relationship between alcohol use and sexual assault, as well as examine cannabis use and dissociative tendencies as possible contributing factors. Using substances to achieve a desire to dissociate is an understudied aspect of substance use and sexual violence. This study hopes to discover information on dissociation as a means of avoidant coping as well as its relationship to alcohol and cannabis use. In an online survey, college females answered questions about their alcohol use, cannabis use, sexual victimization experiences, and frequency that they wish to experience dissociation. Analyses show that participants who score higher on the sexual victimization measure use substances (both alcohol and cannabis) at higher rates and have more of a desire to dissociate than those scoring lower on the sexual victimization measure. These findings expand the current understanding of possible links between sexual assault, substance use, and the desire to dissociate.