Approximately 1 in 5 U.S. college women is sexually assaulted (SA), and nearly half of these assaults involve alcohol. These assaults often occur in social settings, where others are present. Because of this, research has begun to focus on ways in which those who are a part of this social environment (“bystanders”) may be incorporated into assault prevention efforts. Yet, data show that though women want to help protect their friends against SA, they report a number of barriers regarding whether, when, and how to do this. They also report lacking the necessary skills to intervene effectively. Thus, they do not feel ready to engage in SA prevention. A friend-based, motivational intervention can address these barriers, cultivating the relationship and responsibility that already exist between friends, and collaboratively addressing challenges that stand in the way of helping behavior. Accordingly, the objective of the proposed study is to develop an innovative, friend-based motivational intervention (FMI) that encourages and prepares friends to reduce SA risk.
Jennifer Read, PhD
Department of Psychology
Jennifer Livingston, PhD
School of Nursing
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)