Title

Study Abroad Increases Risk for Sexual Assault in Female Undergraduates: A Preliminary Report

Publication Date

9-2013

Journal

Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy

Volume

5

Issue

5

First Page

426

Last Page

430

Abstract

Since 2007, more than 250,000 American students have studied abroad annually for a semester or more. While there are obvious benefits associated with study abroad programs, personal risks (including interpersonal victimization such as sexual and physical assault) occurring during the experience have been anecdotally reported but not systematically assessed. This study is the first to investigate the possibility of increased risk for sexual assault in female undergraduates while abroad. Two hundred eighteen female undergraduates completed a modified version of the Sexual Experiences Survey (SES: Koss et al., 2007) about their sexual experiences abroad and on campus. Findings indicate increased risk for sexual assault while abroad relative to on-campus rates, particularly in non-English speaking countries. Study abroad programs should consider educating students about increased risk and develop response protocols when sexual assaults happen while abroad.

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