Women’s Drinking Decisions in Heterosocial Situations: Development and Validation of Scenarios to Assess Influence of Attraction and Risk-Awareness

Nora E. Noel, Richard L. Ogle, Stephen A Maisto, Lee A. Jackson, Randi B. Loomis, Jennifer A. Heaton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


These three related studies created a set of ecologically valid scenarios for assessing relative associations of both attraction and sexual coercion risk-recognition in college women’s heterosocial situational drinking decisions. The first study constructed nine scenarios using input from heterosexual drinking women in the age cohort (18-30) most likely to experience alcohol-related sexual coercion. In the second study, 50 female undergraduates (ages 18-25) assessed the salience of three important dimensions (attraction, risk, and realism) in these scenarios. The third study was a factor analysis (and a follow-up confirmatory factor analysis) of the elements of coercion-risk as perceived by the target group with two female samples recruited 1 year apart (Sample 1: N = 157, ages 18-29); Sample 2: N = 157, ages 18-30). Results confirmed that the scenarios could be a useful vehicle for assessing how women balance out risk and attraction to make in-the moment heterosocial drinking decisions. The factor analysis showed participants perceived two types of situations, based on whether the male character was “Familiar” or “Just Met” and perceived themselves as happier and more excited with Familiar males. However, in contrast to HIV risk studies, Familiar males were perceived as higher risk for unwanted sex. Future research will use the six scenarios that emerged from the factor analysis to study how attraction and risk perception differentially affect young adult women’s social drinking decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1907-1929
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2019



  • alcohol-related sexual assault
  • attractiveness
  • drinking decisions
  • risk
  • scenarios

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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