A recent study has discovered that although there is a link between binge drinking and sexual assault in adolescent girls, the drinking does not increase as a result of the assault. Additionally, researchers discovered that most girls who were victims of sexual assault as teens experience a decrease in the PTSD symptoms as time goes on. One of the risk factors for sexual assault is binge drinking, but the researchers wanted to determine if people who were sexually assaulted used binge drinking as a coping mechanism. They found that there was no increase in the amount of binge drinking in teenage girls after they experienced a sexual assault.
The researchers examined surveys conducted on over 1,800 girls between the ages of 12 and 17. The girls were interviewed over the telephone on three separate occasions over a four year period. The survey asked questions relating to forced sexual encounters and also asked if the teens had ever consumed more than five alcoholic beverages at one time. The survey also included questions designed to detect the presence of PTSD symptoms. In totality, 15 percent of the girls surveyed reported that they had been the victim of sexual abuse.
“Our study suggests that binge drinking may precede sexual victimization in a subset of adolescent sexual assault victims,” said lead author and a clinical intern at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, Kate Walsh. Because there is no clear evidence that shows who will use alcohol to cope with symptoms of stress, the belief that most people do is unfounded. Jennifer Livingston, Ph.D., a research scientist at the University of Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions, said, “Binge drinking contributes to sexual vulnerability among adolescent girls in two ways: through incapacitation, whereby girls are taken advantage of sexually, and by occurring in illicit settings, such as sneaking out to a party, where girls don’t seek help because they are afraid of getting in trouble.”
© Copyright 2011 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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