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More PSC brown bags, Fall 2018

Leveraging Social Media to Inform Prevention and Intervention Efforts to Reduce Sexual Violence Among Adolescents and Emerging Adults

a PSC Research Project

Investigators:   Quyen Epstein-Ngo, Yasamin Kusunoki, Erin Bonar, Maureen Walton, Marc Zimmerman

Sexual violence (SV) is a significant public health concern with substantial economic and psychosocial tolls on both individuals and communities; yet few empirically-supported interventions exist. Further, although the CDC recommends that prevention and intervention efforts account for the contexts associated with SV, such interventions are currently underrepresented in the literature. Consequently, it is imperative to better understand the contexts associated with SV in order to better inform prevention and intervention efforts. For example, information regarding current perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs around SV in addition to incident characteristics (e.g. location, time of day, relationship to perpetrator, substance use involvement, psychological sequelae, sources of support) could inform individual-level as well as community-level prevention efforts. Moreover, better understanding how SV is defined and understood by victims and perpetrators is also important for addressing this serious issue as it may affect reporting of incidences, subsequent consequences, and future risk. To address these gaps in the evidence-base, this study will recruit emerging adults (18-25 years old, n=2,500) using digital social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and collect confidential data via a web-based survey about the context, consequences and motives for 3 types of sexual violence perpetration/victimization: 1) sexual coercion (verbal/psychological pressure or manipulation to perform sexual acts); 2) sexual violence occurring when one or more individuals involved are under the influence of substances and 3) forced sex. The findings from this study will be instrumental in developing effective interventions which are responsive to the confluence of environmental- and individual-level factors associated with sexual violence incidence.

Funding Period: 06/01/2016 to 05/31/2017

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