History of sexual assault, past-year alcohol use, and alcohol-related problems in American Indian adolescents

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American Indian (AI) adolescents have been found to experience higher rates of sexual violence, alcohol misuse, and alcohol-related consequences compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Adolescent alcohol use and sexual assault experiences have been linked to increased negative consequences across physical and mental health, school, work, and legal domains. The purpose of the present study was to examine the associations among endorsing a history of experiencing sexual assault, past-year alcohol use, and experiences of alcohol-related problems, and to examine how these associations differed across sex, using a large, nationally-representative sample of reservation-dwelling AI adolescents. The present study utilized secondary data analysis of a sample of 3498 AI 7th to 12th grade students from a larger national epidemiological study. Participants completed The American Drug and Alcohol Survey™ to assess their alcohol use, sexual assault history, and alcohol-related consequences. Multilevel regression analyses revealed a significant effect of an alcohol use by sex by sexual assault history interaction on experiencing alcohol-related problems (b = −0.88, 95%CI [−1.55, −0.22], p =.009). Furthermore, results revealed that males who endorsed a history of experiencing sexual assault demonstrated the strongest relationship between past-year alcohol use and alcohol-related consequences (b = 2.60, p <.001). Results indicate the importance of early intervention for alcohol use, alcohol-related problems, and sexual assault, perhaps particularly among adolescent males. Future research should examine the directionality between alcohol-use and sexual assault among AI adolescents.

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Addictive Behaviors