Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Christina Hassija


Numerous consequences of sexual assault have been identified, including psychological consequences such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and health-risk behaviors such as substance misuse. Previous research has indicated that survivors of sexual assault may engage in substance misuse (i.e. alcohol and other illicit and prescription drug use) in attempt to suppress negative thoughts, memories, and flashbacks of the assault. The present study seeks to expand on and examine health-risk behaviors among undergraduate college women after the experience of sexual assault. Although many researchers have focused on the use of alcohol following sexual assault, less have studied non-medical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) as an alternative method of maladaptive coping. NMUPD has recently been identified as the fastest rising recreational substance among college populations. With NMUPD becoming a norm among college students in recreational settings, exploring NMUPD for alternative uses seems like the next logical step in research. This study views sexual assault on a continuum starting from unwanted sexual contact and ending in completed rape. This study aims to bridge the gap in research by attempting to connect the risky behavior of NMUPD to coping with any experience on the sexual assault continuum among college undergraduate women. Participants with and without a history of sexual assault were recruited for the present study. Participants completed a measure of sexual assault history and severity, along with questionnaires assessing current alcohol, marijuana, and NMUPD use