ERIC Number: EJ793170
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun
Reference Count: 60
Women's Social Behavior when Meeting New Men: The Influence of Alcohol and Childhood Sexual Abuse
Parks, Kathleen A.; Hequembourg, Amy L.; Dearing, Ronda L.
Psychology of Women Quarterly, v32 n2 p145-158 Jun 2008
Heavy alcohol consumption (Testa & Parks, 1996) and childhood sexual abuse (CSA; Messman-Moore & Long, 2003) have been associated with adult sexual victimization. We examined the social behavior of 42 women under two alcohol conditions (high dose and low dose) in a bar laboratory. Women were videotaped interacting with a man they had just met. Women in the higher dose condition engaged in more open body position and talked, stood, and walked more than women in the lower dose condition. These behaviors are consistent with signs of intoxication or romantic interest. The women in the high-dose condition also frowned more than women in the low-dose condition. An increase in frowning could indicate less comfort or may be considered consistent with an increase in animation during the social interaction given the concomitant increase in other behaviors. Thus, the nonverbal behavior of women in the high-dose condition could be interpreted as mixed signals. CSA victims exhibited fewer head movements (e.g., nods), were less animated, and frowned more than non-CSA victims. These behaviors convey reticence or possibly even anxiety or discomfort during the social interaction. Thus, the nonverbal behavior of women with a history of CSA may convey an unease that could be viewed by a potential perpetrator as vulnerability. Our findings suggest that both acute alcohol consumption and history of CSA may influence nonverbal social behavior and may influence risk for sexual assault by sending mixed cues of romantic interest or signs of vulnerability to potential perpetrators.
Descriptors: Cues, Sexual Abuse, Social Behavior, Females, Drinking, Children, Interpersonal Relationship, Interaction, Child Abuse, Videotape Recordings, Nonverbal Communication, Risk
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A