PREVENTING SEXUAL VICTIMIZATION ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE TRANSLATIONAL SPECTRUM

Open Access
Author:
Waterman, Emily Anne
Graduate Program:
Human Development and Family Studies
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
May 30, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Eva S. Lefkowitz, Dissertation Advisor
  • Meg L. Small, Committee Chair
  • Zita Oravecz, Committee Member
  • Amy D. Marshall, Committee Member
  • Scarlett R. Miller, Outside Member
Keywords:
  • sexual victimization
  • rape
  • alcohol expectancies
  • alcohol use
  • college
  • alcohol expectanies
  • sexual violence
  • sexual assault
  • interdisplinary teams
  • design
  • prevention
  • intervention
  • translational spectrum
Abstract:
Sexual violence is a major problem on college campuses, with negative effects on victims’ health and educational achievement. In general, sexual violence includes attempted or completed nonconsensual touching or penetration (oral, vaginal, or anal) that occurs through verbal coercion, incapacitation, or physical force. Addressing sexual violence requires a focus on the entire translational spectrum from discovery science on the development of risk and protective factors to large scale dissemination of effective preventative interventions and policy changes. In the current dissertation, I present research from two different stages of the translational spectrum to inform sexual violence prevention. In the first paper, I focus on the Type 0 stage of translational research, that is, discovery science about the etiology of sexual violence. I use structural equation modeling to explore longitudinal associations between beliefs about alcohol’s role in sexual experiences, drinking in large group contexts such as bars and parties, and sexual violence during college among female college students. Findings indicated that women who had been the victims of sexual violence before college were more likely to be victims of sexual violence during college. Women with more positive sex-related alcohol expectancies tended to drink alcohol in large group contexts more frequently than women with less positive expectancies. However, contrary to previous cross-sectional research, women with more positive sex-related alcohol expectancies at the beginning of college were no more likely to be victims of sexual violence during college than women with less positive sex-related alcohol expectancies. In the second paper, I focus on Type 1 translation, or intervention development. A current challenge facing the field of prevention science is scaling up, or disseminating preventative interventions on a large scale. In this paper, I discuss the application of the desirability, feasibility, viability framework to the development of preventative interventions with the potential for large scale impact. Then, in a case study, I present a method for evaluating the desirability, feasibly, and viability of preventative interventions. Implications from the current dissertation indicate a need for longitudinal research on sexual victimization risk factors, because risk factors that precede the social problem may be targeted with preventative interventions. I propose that preventionists may use the desirability, feasibility, viability framework to increase the potential of their interventions for large scale impact. In addition, I suggest that future sexual violence prevention efforts should focus on preventing revictimization, vary intervention settings, and disseminate effective preventative interventions prior to the college transition. Preventionists should consider the multiple stages of translational research in their work to rapidly turn scientific findings into public health impact.