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ORIGINAL ARTICLE 대학생의 자기주장과 성폭력 피해에서 폭음의 조절역할
홍현기, 김희송, 이정은, 정수현, 지형기, 김기평, 표주연, 김종한, 현명호
The Moderating Role of Binge Drinking on the Self-Assertiveness-Sexual Victimization Relationship among College Students
Hyeon-gi Hong, Hee-song Kim, Jung-eun Lee, Sue-hyun Jung, Hyung-ki Ji, Ki-pyoung Kim, Chu-yun Pyo, Jong-han Kim, Myoung-Ho Hyun
Korean Journal of Stress Research 2017;25(2):93-97.
Published online: June 30, 2017
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국립과학수사연구원 법심리과

중앙대학교 심리학과

코아스탈 캐롤리나 대학교 심리학과

Psychological Forensic Division, National Forensic Service, Wonju, Korea

Department of Psychology, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea

Department of Psychology, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC, USA

Corresponding author Myoung-Ho Hyun Department of Psychology, Chung- Ang University, 84 Heukseok-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul 06974, Korea Tel: +82-2-820-5125 Fax: +82-2-816-5124 E-mail:
This work was supported by National Forensic Service (NFS2017PSY02), Ministry of the Interior, Republic of Korea.
• Received: April 5, 2017   • Revised: May 8, 2017   • Accepted: May 11, 2017

Copyright: © The Korean Journal of Stress Research

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

  • Backgound:
    The present study was designed to investigate the moderating role of binge drinking on the relationship between self-assertiveness and sexual victimization among college students (N=393, male: 161, female: 232). We hypothesized that the relationship between self-assertiveness and sexual victimization is meaningful only when binge drinking is low, not high.
  • Methods:
    Using an online site, participants filled out a packet of questionnaires for demographic information, their amount of unwanted sexual contact experience, and their rate of alcohol consumption.
  • Results:
    In the result, binge drinking moderated the relationship between self-assertiveness and sexual victimization. For the high binge drinker group, high self-assertiveness was not a statistically significant predictor of sexual victimization.
  • Conclusions:
    Although self-assertiveness is known to be a protective factor against sexual victimization, our results imply that self-assertiveness alone is not enough to lower sexual victimization. Binge drinking and self-assertiveness are considered together in sexual violence prevention programs.
  • 본 연구는 대학생의 자기 주장성과 폭음 수준이 성폭력 피해를 예측하는지 알아보았고, 폭음 수준이 자기 주장성과 성폭력 피해 여부 간에 조절 역할을 하는지 탐색해 보았다. 대학생 405명이 연구에 참여하였고 익명성 보장을 위해 모바일 기반 설문 응답을 사용하였다. 설문지에 응답하지 않은 12명의 참여자를 제외한 393명(남: 161명, 여: 232명)의 자료를 분석하였다. 로지스틱 회귀분석을 통하여 자기 주장성, 폭음 수준, 자기 주장성과 폭음의 상호작용을 예측 변인으로, 성폭력 피해여부를 기준 변인으로 설정하여 분석하였다. 분석 결과 자기 주장성과 폭음 수준이 성폭력 피해 확률을 유의하게 예측하는 것으로 나타났다. 즉, 자기 주장성 수준이 낮을수록, 폭음 수준이 높을수록 성폭력 피해 확률이 유의함을 나타냈다. 또한 자기 주장성과 폭음의 상호작용이 성폭력 피해 확률을 유의하게 예측하였다. 상호작용에 대한 단순 주 효과 분석을 실시한 결과 폭음 수준이 낮은 집단의 경우 자기 주장성이 성폭력 피해 확률을 유의하게 예측한 반면, 폭음 수준이 높은 집단의 경우 자기 주장성이 성폭력 피해 확률을 유의하게 예측하지 않는 것으로 나타났다. 이러한 결과를 통하여 대학생의 성폭력 피해 예방을 위한 프로그램 적용 시 자기 주장성 훈련만이 아니라 건전한 음주 교육이 병행되어야 할 것을 제안하였다.
Sexual violence, such as sexual harassment, obscene calls, indecent exposure, or rape, is a crime causing its victims to suffer painful physical injury (e.g., bruises, broken bones, gynecological problems, or even death) and psychological scars (e.g., low self-esteem, anxiety, depression) (Chae GM et al., 2004; Shin HK et al., 2006). In South Korea, the number of sex crimes in 2013 represented a 12.1% increase from the 2008 level, whereas other crimes increased only 2.8% over the same period (Ko KP et al., 2013). According to the Prosecutors’ Office, the total number of reported sex crimes in 2015 was 29,864, whereas in 2012 the total stood at 21,346; however, that number is almost certainly an underestimate because sex crimes are notoriously underreported. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family in South Korea stated that only 1.1% of victims report sex crimes directly to police (Hwang JI et al., 2013). Thus, the actual rate of sex-related crimes is likely to be much higher.
To help lower the rate of sex crimes, studies have looked into preventative factors. Of those factors, self-assertiveness has been shown to be effective in helping individuals ward off unwanted sexual advances (Lee JY et al., 2005). Self-assertiveness is defined as the ability to act on one’s own will and not to feel anxious to express his/her feelings or opinions in order to find their rights without infringing or offending the other’s rights (Galassi, 1997). Alberti and Emmons (1978) explained that person in high self-assertiveness is able to express his/her opinions more easily to achieve their goals. In other words, person with high self- assertiveness have ability to communicate effectively with others by freely expressing what he/she wants not only in general situation but also in sexual situation. Therefore, self-assertiveness may be the key element to protect sexual victimization by conveying his/her rejection that he/she does not want during sexual situation.
Another important risk factor in sexual victimization is alcohol consumption (Sohn AR et al., 2006). Nearly half of reported rapes involve alcohol consumption (Abbey et al., 2004), in that either the perpetrator or the victim was intoxicated (Ullman et al., 2000). In a study of 2,385 students from 60 colleges, Sohn AR et al.(2006) found that one third of South Korean students (33.2%) were regular binge drinkers (that is, they consumed more than five alcoholic drinks at a sitting if they were males, and more than four alcohol drinks at a sitting if they were females (Wechsler et al., 1994). The remaining two thirds (73.7%) of male students and more than half of the female students reported binge drinking more than once in their lifetime (Sohn AR et al., 2006).
According to Euromonitor International (2016), South Koreans are the biggest hard alcohol drinker in the world. They consume four times as much alcohol as Americans and twice as much as vodka-loving Russians per week on average. The reason for this high consumption rate in South Korea is at least partly because of public indulgence of alcohol abuse and the mischief it plays in personal lives and because of the easy accessibility and low prices of alcoholic beverages. One way or another, most South Koreans are exposed to binge-drinking environments (Yang SH et al., 2015). Among college students, the prevalence of alcohol drinking is closely related to increased reports of unwanted sexual contact (David et al., 1990). In one study, 14.6% of male and 3.2% of female college students in South Korea reported that they had experienced some form of unwanted sexual activity after drinking alcohol (Sohn AR et al., 2006). After drinking alcohol, female students incur a higher risk of sexual harassment or rape than male students (Chun SS et al., 2002; Sohn AR et al., 2006).
Drinking alcohol adversely influences an individual’s decision-making process and self-control, and it can result in long-term negative consequences, such as conviction for sex crimes (Fillmore et al., 2000; Jewkes et al., 2011). Walker et al.(2011) argued that, when a person is intoxicated from heavy drinking, his or her self-assertiveness is not enough to avoid victimization from sexual violence. For people under the influence of alcohol, the cognitive processes of decision making do not function properly regardless of whether their self-assertiveness remains strong.
The purpose of this study is to identify any relationship between self-assertiveness, binge drinking, and sexual victimization. Existing literature shows that self-assertiveness is a protective factor against sexual victimization, and for many years clinicians have been implementing assertiveness training programs or workshops to adolescents and college students to help them avoid sexual violence (see, for example, Chang SB et al., 2003). As discussed before, however, a major contributing factor of sexual violence is alcohol consumption. Clearly, in light of the increases in both sex crimes and alcohol abuse in South Korea, further investigation into the risks of and protection against sexual violence are needed that consider both self-assertiveness and binge drinking.
1. Participants
In this study, we recruited participants from the university and a total of 405 college students voluntarily participated. Twelve participants did not complete the survey; therefore, we only used 393 students (161 male, 232 female) data in the analysis. The mean age of participants was 21.93 (SD=4.28), and 20.5% of male students and 34.1% of female students had no previous sexual experience. In addition, 8.1% of the males and 21.5% of the females reported having previous unwanted sexual experience.
2. Measures

1) Sexual victimization

Sexual Aggression and Victimization Scale (SAV-S; Krahe et al., 2013) is a self-report instrument designed to assess various degrees of sexual experiences. The scale measures both victimization and perpetration experiences with four coercive strategies: (1) the threat or use of physical force, (2) the exploitation of the inability of the victim to resist, (3) the use of verbal pressure, and (4) the use of position of authority.
For the purpose of the present study, only the responses on victimization experiences were analyzed. Before analyzing the data, we divided participants into two groups: participants who reported no sexual victimization were categorized as nonvictims (scored 0), and participants who reported at least one instance of victimization were categorized as victims (scored 1). We translated the scale from English into Korean with permission of the scale developer, Dr. Barbara Krahé, and the online version of the scale was used for the study.

2) Self- assertiveness

The assertion inventory(Gambrill et al., 1975) measures the degree of the participants’ discomfort when being assertive in eight different socially awkward public situations. Participants rated their discomfort in those situations from 1 (always) to 5 (never). The internal consistency (α) in original survey items was .87 and in the present study was .83.

3) Binge drinking

One question taken from D’Abreau and Krahé (D’Abreu et al., 2014) was used: “When you think about a last month, how often do you normally having 5 or more drinks (alcohol) at one occasion?” To measure alcohol consumption, responses were rated from 1 (none) to 5 (every day/always).
3. Procedures
In this study, the survey was created via Qualtrics ( and the data was collected through online site. Participants were provided online survey link and asked to fill out questionnaires for demographic information, their amount of unwanted sexual contact experience, and their rate of alcohol consumption. The Institutional Review Board at National Forensic Service in South Korea approved this study. All participants signed the informed consent form. After finishing the survey, the participants were given a small compensation (worth about $5).
4. Data analysis
To test the moderating role of binge drinking, SPSS Version 22.0 was used to perform a logistic regression analysis to determine the degree that assertiveness, binge drinking, and the interaction between the two predicted sexual victimization as the criterion variable.
5. Ethics
The Institutional Review Board at National Forensic Service in South Korea approved this study. All participants were informed of this study and voluntarily attended.
The demographic information of participants in this study was presented in Table 1. The prediction of assertiveness (Wald=4.71, p<0.05, Exp (B)=1.92), binge drinking (Wald=6.03, p<0.05, Exp (B)=2.52), and the interaction (Wald=4.36, p<0.05, Exp (B)=0.75) on sexual victimization were statistically significant (Table 2). High assertiveness predicted lower sexual victimization, and high binge drinking predicted higher sexual victimization. To analyze the interaction effect, we divided binge drinking into high and low binge- drinker groups and tested whether binge drinking affected sexual victimization (simple main effect analysis). For the low binge-drinker group, assertiveness significantly predicted sexual victimization (Wald= 5.13, p<0.05, Exp (B)=1.90). High assertiveness was related to lower sexual victimization. However, for the high binge-drinker group, assertiveness did not predict sexual victimization (Wald=1.20, ns, Exp (B)=0.47) (Table 3). Therefore, high assertiveness was a protective factor of sexual victimization only for the low binge-drinker group, and the level of assertiveness was not a protective factor of sexual victimization for the high binge-drinker group.
Table 1
Demographic characteristics of participants (N=393)
N %  No response (n) 
 Male 161 41.0
 Female  232   59.0 
 Yes 74 18.8
 No 319 181.2
Binge drinking  61
 Never 70 17.8
 1~2 times 103 26.2
 3~4 times 64 16.3
 5~6 times 58 14.8
 Everyday 37 9.4
Table 2
Summary of logistic regression analysis for variables predicting sexual victimization
 Predictor B (SE) Wald df p Exp (B) 95% CI for Exp (B)
Assertiveness 0.65 (0.30) 4.71 1 0.03 1.92 (1.86~3.44)
Binge drinking 0.92 (0.38) 6.03 1 0.01 2.52 (1.21~5.26)
Assertiveness X binge drinking −0.29 (0.14) 4.36 1 0.04 0.75 (0.58~0.98)
Constant −3.37 (0.87) 14.95 1 0.00 0.03

SE: standard error.

Table 3
Results of logistic regression analysis for examining the moderating role of binge drinking on the assertiveness and sexual victimization relationship
 Group  Predictor B (SE) Wald df p Exp (B) 95% CI for Exp (B)
Low binge-drinker Assertiveness 0.64 (0.28) 5.13 1 0.02 1.90 (1.09~3.32)
Constant 3.54 (0.83) 18.23 1 0.00 0.03
High binge-drinker Assertiveness −0.28 (0.25) 1.20 1 0.27 0.76 (0.47~1.24)
Constant −0.38 (0.67) 0.31 1 0.58 0.69

SE: standard error.

The aim of the study was to investigate whether self-assertiveness and binge drinking predicted sexual victimization and whether binge drinking functions as a moderator between self-assertiveness and sexual victimization. The results showed that higher self- assertiveness predicted lower sexual victimization (Harlow et al., 1993; Greene et al., 1998; Lee JY et al., 2005; Kim KW et al., 2012; Park SM et al., 2016). We also found that higher binge drinking predicted higher sexual victimization, which was consistent with previous studies (Ullman et al., 2000; Abbey et al., 2004; Sohn AR et al., 2006; Kim MY et al., 2012). Our results confirm previous findings that increasing self-assertiveness and awareness of the risks of binge drinking would be an effective way to prevent sexual victimization.
Finally, binge drinking moderated the relationship between assertiveness and sexual victimization. The relationship between assertiveness and sexual victimization was meaningful only when binge drinking was low, and the relationship was insignificant when binge drinking was high. Because of the prevalence of binge drinking in South Korea, studies focusing on self- assertiveness alone may not be enough to lower the risk of sexual violence. Information about safe restraints upon alcohol consumption should also be included in sexual violence prevention programs.
Limitations of this study should be noted. Only a small percentage of participants reported unwanted sexual experiences (8.1% of male, 21.5% of female participants). This rate is lower than the rates of other studies (20% to 73.7% of college students reported sexual victimization in Chae GM et al., 2004). This difference may be attributable to differences in participant recruitment procedures. We collected the participants’ e-mail addresses on online survey to prevent them from participating in the study more than once. This caution might have made some participants unsure of their anonymity if they revealed their private experiences, even though the researchers made every attempt to assure them that all data was coded and could not be used to identify any given source.
Despite many of previous studies on sexual victimization and self-assertiveness apply sexual assertiveness scale to examine the relationship, the present study utilized the self-assertiveness scale. It may be reasonable to apply the sexual assertiveness scale in this study which is related to sexual violence, but it may be a problem in applying its scale to the current study. Sexual Assertiveness Scale (SAS; Morokoff et al., 1997), which is currently used most actively, was developed for measuring woman’s assertiveness during sexual situation, however, the present study was considered to be examined not only the assertiveness of woman but also the man’s assertiveness during sexual situation. Therefore, SAS may not be fully validated for this study. In addition, since perception and attitudes on sexual situation varies from culture to culture, by using a self-assertiveness scale may be helpful to apply the result of current study to a wide range of gender and cultural backgrounds by verifying the relationship between self-assertiveness in general situation and sexual victimization.
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