For women who disclose sexual assault, social reactions can affect post-assault adjustment. Approximately half of the sexual assaults of adult women involve alcohol use. Experimental studies indicate that people put more blame on women who were drinking before the assault, yet no studies have assessed how often actual survivors receive social reactions specific to their alcohol use. This study presents a new measure to assess alcohol-specific social reactions for survivors of sexual assault (The Social Reactions Questionnaire-Alcohol, SRQ-A). Factor analyses of a large community sample indicated that women often receive both positive and negative alcohol-specific reactions when disclosing assault. Discriminant validity confirmed that such reactions are distinct from other types of assault-related social reactions. Against predictions, alcohol-specific reactions were not associated with depression, posttraumatic stress symptoms, binge drinking, or intoxication. However, in support of the hypotheses, alcohol-specific reactions were related to increased characterological self-blame and alcohol problems. Notably, such reactions had both positive and negative relationships with self-blame, indicating a potential avenue for intervention. Implications for researchers and practitioners are discussed.
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