Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2008


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Nursing

Committee Chair

L. Kathleen Sekula

Committee Member

Linda M. Goodfellow

Committee Member

Douglas Landsittel

Committee Member

Kenneth P. Miller


Sexual Assault, Binge Drinking, Date Rape, Behavior Change


The incidence of sexual assault on the college campus has not declined for women despite a national decline in violent crime. Binge drinking continues to be an issue on college campuses and has been directly associated with the increased the risk of sexual assault. The lack of programming effectiveness by institutions of higher education to deter the incidence of sexual assault related to alcohol use on college campuses continues to be a major issue across the nation. Legislation such as the Clery Act which requires all institutions of higher education receiving federal funds to make public all reported sexual assaults on their campuses and efforts to deter this crime have yet to make an impact in reducing the incidence of sexual assault.

The present research examined female and male college students' readiness to make a behavioral change related to sexual assault vulnerability due to alcohol use. The theoretical framework for this study was the Transtheoretical Model of Change. Instruments used were the Illinois Rape Myth Assessment survey, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, and the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment survey.

This study found that the majority of students responding to the survey did not believe in rape myths, over one-third admitted to binge drinking, and of those choosing to binge drink, over one-third were women. Of those reporting to binge drink, 94 percent were in the precontemplation stage indicating that they did not acknowledge their alcohol use was in need of a change in order to decrease risk of sexual assault.

These findings suggest a need for a new direction in sexual assault prevention programming that incorporates alcohol use awareness. The recommended format should identify the intended audiences' stage of readiness to make a change in alcohol use in order to decrease risk of sexual assault. Stage identification would determine the processes needed to support the transition to the stage where action upon the problem would follow. Support for students to acknowledge and then to act upon their high risk drinking in order to lessen the risk of sexual assault may eventually lead to a decrease incidence of sexual assault.