Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Suzanne Swan


Objective: The current study sought to expand the understanding of the nascent phenomenon of drugging, the administering of a drug or alcohol substance to an individual without their knowledge or consent (Swan et al., 2017). Specifically, in this paper, the lifestyle-routine activities theory (L-RAT) is used as a framework to examine what factors may contribute to the occurrence of drugging. Prevalence rates of drugging victimization and drugging perpetration are examined by participant characteristics including gender, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity, and by risk behaviors including illicit drug use, marijuana use, and binge drinking. Trait sensation seeking, which has been shown to increase people’s likelihood of engaging in risk behaviors and to be higher in men than women, is examined as a mediator of the relationships between gender and drugging victimization and perpetration as well as between risk behaviors and drugging victimization and perpetration. Method: A national sample of 4,086 U. S. residents who were between the ages of 18 and 30 completed an online survey. The survey included questions about their experiences with drugging victimization and drugging perpetration. Results: About 18.7% of sampled participants reported experiencing drugging victimization. Analyses indicated that risk behaviors (i.e., binge drinking, illicit drug use, and marijuana use) were significantly and positively related to drugging victimization. Trait sensation seeking significantly directly predicted drugging victimization and also mediated the relationships between risk behaviors (binge drinking, illicit drug use, and marijuana use) and drugging victimization. About 2.9% of the sample indicated that they had drugged someone. Analyses indicated that being male and engaging in binge drinking, and illicit drug use each significantly and positively predicted drugging perpetration. Trait sensation seeking neither directly predicted drugging perpetration nor mediated the effects other variables had on drugging perpetration. Conclusion: Drugging IPV is a prevalent social issue that requires further study. Being male and engaging in binge drinking and illicit drug use meaningfully predicted perpetration while marijuana use, other demographic characteristics, and sensation seeking did not. Further, engaging in binge drinking, illicit and marijuana drug use, and having high trait sensation seeking was found to be more important in the prediction of drugging victimization than demographic characteristics. Notably, Sensation seeking significantly mediated the relationship between risk behaviors and drugging victimization, indicating that those who more often engaged in these risk behaviors were more likely to have experienced drugging victimization if they were also higher in trait sensation seeking. As such, it is imperative that efforts to prevent drugging IPV target not only substance use behaviors, but also aspects of the intrinsic propensity to seek novel and intense sensations and experiences.