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Examining a predictive model of male sexual coercion

Sarah A DeGue, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Male sexual coercion, in which non-physical tactics are utilized to manipulate unwilling females into sexual contact, poses a serious threat to women and is at least as common as sexual aggression, in which physical force is utilized to obtain sex. However, etiological studies of sexual offending have rarely considered sexually coercive behavior in isolation. That is, most research has combined sexual coercion with more severe forms of sexual offending when exploring risk factors for these behaviors. Utilizing a sample of 369 incarcerated males, the present study developed independent predictive models of male sexual coercion and aggression to identify shared and unique risk factors for each form of sexual misconduct. In addition, a model predicting general sexual misconduct was also developed to identify factors capable of directly discriminating between sexually coercive and aggressive offenders. Results identified a set of shared risk characteristics for sexual coercion and aggression, including belief in rape myths, sexual promiscuity, and generalized aggressive tendencies, that seem to predispose individuals to both forms of sexual misconduct. In addition, findings indicated that whether the offenders engaged in only sexual coercion or also utilized more violent sexually aggressive tactics depended on the presence of two sets of traits unique to these offense types. Specifically, sexual coercers tended to possess traits that facilitated the use of verbal tactics (i.e., ability to manipulate others, empathic deficits, ability to imagine others’ emotional reactions). In contrast, sexual aggressors had characteristics that may increase their willingness to "cross the line" by utilizing more violent means to obtain sex from an unwilling female (i.e., hostility towards women, egocentricity, impulsivity and indifference toward socio-legal proscriptions, childhood emotional abuse, and empathic deficits). Finally, the model of general sexual misconduct directly contrasting sexually coercive and aggressive men identified hostility towards women as the primary factor predicting group membership. These findings suggest that although sexual coercers and aggressors share some underlying risk factors, the etiological patterns of these behaviors are distinct and necessitate individual attention by researchers and prevention programs.^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

DeGue, Sarah A, "Examining a predictive model of male sexual coercion" (2006). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3250375.