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National Crime Victims Center > Grants & Publications > current_grant_abstracts > Risk Reduction for Drug Use and Sexual Revictimization

Risk Reduction for Drug Use and Sexual Revictimization

Principal Investigator:  Carla Danielson, Ph.D.  <bio sketch>  <e-mail >
Funding Source:  National Institute on Drug Abuse
Award #:  K23DA018686
Date of Project:  07/01/06 - 6/30/2011

Rates of substance abuse by adolescents in the United States are higher than any other industrialized nation in the world.  Adolescent substance abuse is associated with significant negative outcomes and high costs for these youth, their families, communities, and society.  Interventions targeting specific adolescent populations at risk for substance abuse may be one method of addressing this public health problem.  One population particularly vulnerable to substance abuse difficulties beyond that of the normal population is childhood sexual assault (CSA) victims.  In fact, the rates of substance abuse problems among women with a history of CSA range from two to ten times higher than those found in the general population, which renders these individuals at risk for revictimization, as well as other long-term negative higher rates of substance abuse problems than SA victims from other ethnic groups.  Further concerning is that barriers such as mistrust of treatment agencies and transportation difficulties have been linked to under-utilization of services and under-representation in clinical research among Hispanics.

The principal purpose of this research proposal is to develop and evaluate the efficacy of Risk Reduction through Family Therapy (RRFT) in reducing the risk of drug use and sexual revictimization among adolescents who have been sexually assaulted.

The specific aims are:

  • To develop and evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of RRFT among adolescents and families receiving the treatment and therapists, supervisors, and clinic administrators involved in its delivery.
  • To develop and test RRFT to evaluate its ability to reduce risk for drug abuse and sexual revictimization in adolescent SA victims.  Included in this aim is the goal to bridge the gap between prevention and treatment for substance abuse in adolescents, as RRFT will be applied to youth at varying stages of substance use, and will be evaluated as to whether the treatment is beneficial across the continuum of drug use.
  • To evaluate RRFT to assess its ability to capitalize on strengths of the adolescents and their families to improve youth functioning in other areas related to successful adolescent development.
  • To increase recruitment and retention of Hispanic families into the proposed research by reducing traditional barriers and incorporating cultural components into RRFT.

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