Sexual Assault Victimization among Varied Personality Traits

Nick Vanderhooof


Persisting as one of the most devastating consequences of alcohol abuse, sexual assault, defined as any forced sexual act, has been reported by 54% of college women1. As particular personality traits predispose individuals to certain behaviors, it additionally impacts drinking habits6. The purpose of the present study is to determine whether higher proportions of certain personality traits in college students are found among sexual assault victims. This determination contains potential to specify attributes typically found in sexual assault victims on college campuses, allowing more effective preventative tactics to be developed for affected populations. Therefore, higher rates of sexual assault will occur among students with more sensation seeking traits. 433 undergraduate students from a midsized, Midwestern university participated in the present study. Data were collected through an online survey that gauged prior experience with sexual assault victimization and assessed personality traits with the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire. Sociability and sexual assault responses were found to be significantly related between groups, F(5, 160) = 2.44, p = .04. A Tukey’s range test found a significant difference within participants rating high in sociability and choosing the “attempted coercion” (M = 7.27, SD = 1.49) and “completed rape” (M = 4.83, SD = 2.35) responses. Participants scoring higher in the sociability scale of the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire reported higher rates of sexual assault victimization. Future intervention efforts could apply these results to areas known for social gatherings at universities. Preventative methods could involve friends or bar employees becoming more informed about suspicious activity indicative of potential sexual assault and proper responses to ensure the safety of the public.

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