Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Research strongly suggests that alcohol is a risk factor for date rape for both victims and perpetrators (Abbey, 1991, Fritner & Rubinson, 1994; Miller & Marshall, 1987; Muehlenhard & Linton, 1987; Norris & Cubbins, 1992; Marx, Van Wie, & Gross, 1996). Many victims of sexual assault consume alcohol prior to being raped (Marx, et al., 1999), and "early recognition of when a social situation with a male acquaintance or intimate partner has become threatening can aida woman in preventing a serious incident of sexual aggression" (Norris, et al, 1999, p. 230). This study's purpose was to experimentally address the link between alcohol consumption and women's risk detection abilities in a date rape vignette. It was hypothesized that the consumption of alcohol decreased a woman's ability to detect increasing levels of risk in a date rape vignette as compared to the no-alcohol condition. Supplementary hypotheses predicted thatalcohol consumption significantly impaired women's ratings of social pressure, social consequences, comfort level, proposed strategy, male aggressiveness, and female assertiveness as compared to the no-alcohol group. Results demonstrated that alcohol consumption to a .04% BAC significantly increased subject's decision latency scores. Alcohol also impaired ratings of comfort level, interpersonal risk, proposed strategy, and social pressure. No differences were detected between groups on ratings of male aggressiveness and female assertiveness. These results indicated that alcohol significantly impaired women's risk detection and judgment as measured by a date rape vignette. Implications for these results and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access