Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Date of Defense

8-8-2013

Graduate Advisor

Zoe D. Peterson, Ph.D.

Committee

Therese Macan

Susan Kashubeck-West

Matthew Taylor

Abstract

Previous research on sexual aggression mainly focused on men as perpetrators and women as victims; more recently, the focus has shifted to include women as perpetrators of sexual aggression as well. This study sought to examine two different measures of sexual coercion perpetration (Revised Sexual Experiences Survey [SES-LFP] and the Post-Refusal Persistence Scale [PRPS]) in terms of their convergent validity for both men and women and to examine gender differences and similarities in item interpretation. In addition, participant agreement with traditional and non-traditional sexual scripts was examined for its association with endorsement of coercion. Participants were 648 individuals (426 women, 222 men) recruited from an undergraduate psychology subject pool and an online convenience sample, ranging in age from 18 to 62, with a mean age of 24 years. The majority of the sample was White (66.7%) and Black (19.9%). All measures were completed online anonymously. Specific hypotheses predicted that, for men, sexual attitudes that involve traditional male roles and traditional female roles in sexual relationships would be associated with perpetration of sexual coercion, and for women, attitudes involving traditional male roles and non-traditional female roles would be associated with perpetration of sexual coercion. Results suggest that convergent validity for the two measures is less than optimal; overall, participants were more likely to endorse items on PRPS than the SES-LFP. Item interpretation analysis revealed that more than twice the percentage of women that provided a description of an endorsed act indicated a false positive, compared to men, suggesting that women are more likely to endorse perpetration items incorrectly on the SES than are men. For women, endorsement of traditional male sexuality and rejection of traditional female sexuality was associated with endorsing use of sexually coercive tactics; for men, traditional male sexuality was most associated with coercion. Research and intervention implications are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons

Share

COinS