Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Amie L. Nielsen - Committee Member

Second Committee Member

Terrence D. Hill - Mentor

Third Committee Member

Neena M. Malik - Outside Committee Member


Although numerous studies have documented the consequences of victimization on psychological distress, few have directly examined potential moderators of this association. Using data from the Welfare, Children, and Families project (1999-2001), a probability sample of 2,402 low-income women with children living in low-income neighborhoods in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio, I predict psychological distress with measures of physical assault and sexual coercion before age 18 and psychological aggression, sexual coercion, and minor and severe physical assault in the past year. I also test the moderating influence of alcohol consumption. Cross-sectional results suggest that the effects of sexual coercion before age 18 and severe physical assault in the past year are moderated or exacerbated by alcohol consumption. Longitudinal results indicate that alcohol consumption exacerbates the effects of psychological aggression and minor physical assault in the past year on changes in psychological distress over time.


Violence; Alcohol; Mental Health