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A dangerous transition: High school to the first year of college
Date:2/8/2008

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Increases in young womens drinking during the transition from high school through the first year of college can have dangerous physical, sexual and psychological implications, according to a report out of the University at Buffalos Research Institute on Addictions.

The good news is that during the first year of college, when many young women increase their drinking, the majority (78 percent) of the 870 incoming freshmen women who participated in the study did not experience any victimization. The bad news, however, is that among the 22 percent of women who were victimized, 13 percent experienced severe physical victimization and 38 percent experienced severe sexual victimization.

The research results were published in the January 2008 issue of the prestigious Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

This is the first study that we know of that has compared risk for physical and sexual assault among college women based on changes in drinking during this transition period, said Kathleen A. Parks, Ph.D., principal investigator on the study. Clearly, abstaining from drinking is a protective measure. However, young college women should be aware that becoming a new drinker or increasing ones drinking during this transition increases the likelihood of victimization.

The study showed that among women who drank alcohol during the first year of college, rates of physical and sexual victimization were substantially higher compared to women who did not drink. In addition, the odds of first-year college sexual victimization significantly increased with each pre-college psychological symptom (i.e., anxiety, depression) and each pre-college sexual partner a woman reported.

Interestingly, researchers found that the changes in drinking patterns during the high-school-to-college transition influenced risk for physical and sexual victimization in different ways.

About one fourth (27 percent) of the women reported that they abstained fr
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Contact: Kathleen Weaver
weaver@ria.buffalo.edu
716-887-2585
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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