Alcohol use as a potential mediator of forced sexual intercourse and suicidality among african american, caucasian, and hispanic high school girls

Yen Chi L. Le, Monic P. Behnken, Christine M. Markham, Jeff R. Temple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Sexual assault on adolescent females is a major public health concern. The purposes of this study were to examine: (1) whether alcohol use mediates the relationship between forced sexual intercourse and suicidality in high-school girls, and (2) whether this mediation differs by ethnicity. Methods: Using cross-sectional data from the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (n = 6,294), we used logistic regression and simple mediation using the Sobel test for indirect effect for our analyses. Results: Overall rates for forced sexual intercourse, alcohol use, and suicidality were 10.9%, 56.6%, and 18%, respectively. Current alcohol use significantly mediated the relationship between forced sexual intercourse and suicidality in African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic high-school girls. Overall, 13% of variance in participants' suicidality can be accounted for by the indirect effect of forced sexual intercourse on suicidality through alcohol use. The amount of variance accounted for by alcohol use varied significantly by ethnicity, with the largest amount of variance (21%) accounted for suicidality in Hispanic girls. Conclusion: In addition to its acute affects, alcohol use may serve as a general risk factor for suicidality in girls who have experienced forced sexual intercourse. Intervention programs targeting female adolescent sexual assault victims should include an alcohol use component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-439
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Keywords

  • Adolescent females
  • Alcohol use
  • Sexual assault
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Youth Risk Behavior Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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