In-The-Moment Dissociation, Emotional Numbing, and Sexual Risk: The Influence of Sexual Trauma History, Trauma Symptoms, and Alcohol Intoxication

Cynthia A. Stappenbeck, William H. George, Jennifer M. Staples, Hong Nguyen, Kelly Davis, Debra Kaysen, Julia R. Heiman, N. Tatiana Masters, Jeanette Norris, Cinnamon L. Danube, Amanda K. Gilmore, Kelly F. Kajumulo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Prior research on the effects of sexual trauma has examined dissociation but not emotional numbing during sex and has relied exclusively on retrospective surveys. The present experiment examined associations among distal factors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), adolescent/adult sexual assault (ASA), and trauma symptoms and the proximal factor of acute alcohol intoxication on in-themoment dissociation, emotional numbing, and sexual risk intentions. Method: Young adult female drinkers (N=436) at elevated sexual risk were randomized to receive alcohol (target peak breath alcohol concentration =.10%) or no alcohol. They then read an eroticized sexual scenario and reported on their dissociation and emotional numbing experiences, unprotected sex refusal self-efficacy, and unprotected sex intentions. Results: Path analysis revealed that CSA was indirectly associated with increased unprotected sex intentions through increased ASA severity, increased trauma-related symptoms, increased emotional numbing, and decreased unprotected sex refusal self-efficacy. Further, alcohol intoxication was indirectly associated with increased unprotected sex intentions through increased emotional numbing and decreased unprotected sex refusal self-efficacy. Conclusions: Emotional numbing, but not dissociation, was associated with unprotected sex intentions and may be 1 potential target for interventions aimed at reducing HIV/STI-related risk among women with a history of sexual trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-595
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Violence
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Unsafe Sex
Alcoholic Intoxication
intoxication
trauma
alcohol
Wounds and Injuries
self-efficacy
Self Efficacy
assault
sexual violence
Sex Offenses
Alcohols
childhood
path analysis
young adult
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
scenario
adolescent
Young Adult
experiment

Keywords

  • alcohol intoxication
  • Dissociation
  • emotional numbing
  • HIV/STI risk
  • sexual assault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology

Cite this

In-The-Moment Dissociation, Emotional Numbing, and Sexual Risk : The Influence of Sexual Trauma History, Trauma Symptoms, and Alcohol Intoxication. / Stappenbeck, Cynthia A.; George, William H.; Staples, Jennifer M.; Nguyen, Hong; Davis, Kelly; Kaysen, Debra; Heiman, Julia R.; Masters, N. Tatiana; Norris, Jeanette; Danube, Cinnamon L.; Gilmore, Amanda K.; Kajumulo, Kelly F.

In: Psychology of Violence, Vol. 6, No. 4, 01.10.2016, p. 586-595.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Stappenbeck, CA, George, WH, Staples, JM, Nguyen, H, Davis, K, Kaysen, D, Heiman, JR, Masters, NT, Norris, J, Danube, CL, Gilmore, AK & Kajumulo, KF 2016, 'In-The-Moment Dissociation, Emotional Numbing, and Sexual Risk: The Influence of Sexual Trauma History, Trauma Symptoms, and Alcohol Intoxication', Psychology of Violence, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 586-595. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0039978
Stappenbeck, Cynthia A. ; George, William H. ; Staples, Jennifer M. ; Nguyen, Hong ; Davis, Kelly ; Kaysen, Debra ; Heiman, Julia R. ; Masters, N. Tatiana ; Norris, Jeanette ; Danube, Cinnamon L. ; Gilmore, Amanda K. ; Kajumulo, Kelly F. / In-The-Moment Dissociation, Emotional Numbing, and Sexual Risk : The Influence of Sexual Trauma History, Trauma Symptoms, and Alcohol Intoxication. In: Psychology of Violence. 2016 ; Vol. 6, No. 4. pp. 586-595.
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