Embodying Uncertainty? Understanding Heightened Risk Perception of Drink 'Spiking'

Burgess, Adam, Pamela Donovan, Sarah Moore

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39 Citations (SciVal)


There is a stark contrast between heightened perceptions of risk associated with drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) and a lack of evidence that this is a widespread threat. Through surveys and interviews with university students in the United Kingdom and United States, we explore knowledge and beliefs about drink-spiking and the linked threat of sexual assault. University students in both locations are not only widely sensitized to the issue, but substantial segments claim first- or second-hand experience of particular incidents. We explore students’ understanding of the DFSA threat in relationship to their attitudes concerning alcohol, binge-drinking, and responsibility for personal safety. We suggest that the drink-spiking narrative has a functional appeal in relation to the contemporary experience of young women's public drinking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)848-862
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • uncertainty
  • risk
  • alcohol
  • sexual assault


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