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The cycle of substance misuse and victimization

Karen A Kalmakis, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The primary aim of this qualitative research study was to explore women's experiences of sexual assault while under the influence of a substance. The secondary aim was to learn about women's experiences with sexual assault services, specifically sexual assault nurse examiners. A phenomenological approach was chosen to guide the researcher toward an understanding of the meaning of the experience. Data was gathered using individual, in-depth interviews with eight women. The data was analyzed to discover what it was like to be sexually assaulted while under the influence. Through analysis and interpretation of the data a theme of struggling to survive was chosen to communicate the meaning of the experience. In addition, a model of a cycle of substance misuse and victimization is offered for consideration. The study findings reveal the complex relationship between the participants' substance use and their victimization. This research points to the need for specific nursing interventions for women who have been sexually assaulted while under the influence and for follow-up programs designed to assist women break the cycle of substance misuse and victimization. The research provides valuable insight into victims' experiences that can be used to advance nursing care to victims of sexual assault.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Kalmakis, Karen A, "The cycle of substance misuse and victimization" (2008). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3325251.