Project SOAR

Social goal Orientation and Assault Risk (SOAR): Sexual assault occurs in college in settings that are social in nature, often with perpetrators known to the victim. Understanding how women interact with their social environment may be the key to assault vulnerability. The objective of this lab-based study is to better understand how social goal orientation (interpersonal orientations toward agency and communion) may influence women’s navigation of complex social situations and as such, how these orientations represent a risk or protective factor sexual assault. We also seek to understand how these orientations, long believed to be static, trait-like constructs, may shift in response to the demands of the social environment. To this end, we are using assault vignettes and an experimental social goal paradigm to examine the impact of explicit and implicit social goals on sexual assault risk perception during an alcohol-involved social situation. We also will test the role that self-regulation may play in this association. This work is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Mark Seery and Dr. Veronica LaMarch (University at Essex).