Abstract: Sexual Orientation and Sexual Assault Victimization Amongst College Students: A Logistical Regression Analysis (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

58P Sexual Orientation and Sexual Assault Victimization Amongst College Students: A Logistical Regression Analysis

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Sarah Dodd, MSW, PhD Student, University of Connecticut, Hartford, CT
Background and Purpose: Sexual assault on college campuses has been identified as a salient social problem with broad policy and practice implications. Despite growing attention to this issue, limited research has focused on the experience of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and queer identified college students, with this crime.  In this study, the relationship of several independent variables on sexual assault victimization is explored .  It is hypothesized that LGBQ college students will be more likely to experience sexual assault than their heterosexual identified peers.

Methods: Data for this study was collected through administering in-person, paper surveys at one mid-sized, state university in New England throughout the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016.  A stratified sampling technique was used, whereby a proportionate number of undergraduate students were sampled from each academic college.  Participants in the study (n=793) were representative of the campus community with 13% identifying as Hispanic, 49% identifying as female and almost 8% identifying a member of the LGBTQ community.  Additionally, 8% of participants experienced sexual assault since becoming a student at the college.

Results: Direct logistical regression was performed to assess the impact of a number of factors on the likelihood that participants would report that they had experienced sexual assault during college.  The model contained five independent variables (exposure to prevention training, exposure to policy training, race, sexual orientation and gender).  The full model containing all predictors was statistically significant, x(squared), (5, n=706) = 34.091, p<.001), indicating that the model was able to distinguish between participants who reported and did not report victimization.  The model as a whole explained between 4.7% (Cox & Snell R Square) and 11.2% (Nagelkerke R Square) of the variance in victimization, and correctly classified 92.2% of cases.  Only two of the independent variables made a unique statistically significant contribution to the model (sexual orientation and gender).  The strongest predictor of victimization was sexual orientation, recording an odds ratio of 3.198.  This indicated that participants from the LGBQ community were three times more likely to report victimization than students who identified as heterosexual, controlling for all other factors in the model.  

 Conclusion and Implications:  Throughout the last ten years, many higher education institutions have invested increased resources in to initiatives focused on responding to and preventing sexual assault.  Findings from this study indicate that in order to improve the efficacy of these efforts, social work practitioners should consider, with intentionality, the LGBQ community.  Response efforts aimed at creating inclusion and accessibility for LGBQ students and prevention efforts which raise awareness and visibility of sexual assault in the LGBQ community may, ultimately, create a more positive campus climate for LGBQ students and address sexual assault on campus more effectively.