Effects of alcohol intoxication and victimization history on women's sexual assault resistance intentions: The role of secondary cognitive appraisals

Susan A. Stoner, Jeanette Norris, William H. George, Kelly Cue Davis, N. Tatiana Masters, Danielle M. Hessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations


This study used an experimental paradigm to investigate the role of secondary cognitive appraisals in women's sexual assault resistance and whether these appraisals mediated influences of alcohol and prior victimization. After consuming a beverage (control, placebo, moderate, or high dose), 351 women projected themselves into a simulated interaction with a sexually aggressive man. Four types of secondary appraisals (shock at the man's behavior, concern about his feelings, uncertainty in the situation, conflict about what to do) and three resistance strategies (assertive, polite, passive) were examined. Path modeling revealed that, as expected, intoxication and prior sexual victimization influenced secondary appraisals, which in turn influenced intended resistance. Prior adult sexual assault (ASA) and childhood sexual abuse (CSA) also had direct effects: ASA negatively predicted assertive resistance and CSA positively predicted passivity. Findings suggest that secondary appraisals are key targets for intervention to facilitate effective resistance, thereby reducing the risk of adult sexual victimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-356
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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