Sexual Revictimization: Affect Regulation as a Mediator (AREA)

Principal Investigator: Holly K. Orcutt, Ph.D.  
Funding Source:  National Institutes of Health/ National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH/NICHD)
Dates of Project:  4/06 - 4/09 (currently grant is on a no-cost extension)

Overall, the focus of the project is to examine mediators of sexual revictimization among college women, particularly the use of sex and/or alcohol to regulate negative affect.  This project employed a longitudinal design which followed a large (approximately 1000) culturally-diverse sample of women across 12 months (with five data collection points) in order to investigate whether the experience of psychological distress, secondary to child sexual abuse, and the use of sex and alcohol to regulate negative affect increases college women’s risk of experiencing prospective sexual assault. In addition, this project incorporated a novel laboratory-based behavioral forecasting analogue of likelihood to use sex to regulate negative affect.

In terms of the primary aim of the project, it was hypothesized that the relation between child sexual abuse and increased use of sex and alcohol to regulate negative affect would be mediated by psychological distress. Further, it was hypothesized that the relation between child sexual abuse and prospective adult sexual assault would be partially mediated by psychological distress and use of sex and alcohol to regulate negative affect.