Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Violence and Victims, Volume 28, Number 1, 2013


U.S. Government work


Some evidence suggests that childhood emotional abuse (CEA) may serve as a risk factor for sexual violence (SV) perpetration; however, little is known about the mechanisms by which CEA may influence SV. This study examined the relationship between CEA and SV by assessing the mediating role of hostility toward women (HTW) in a sample of adjudicated adult males (N = 360). Approximately 1 in 5 participants was classified as sexually violent based on self-reported behavior and/or criminal records. Results indicated that CEA significantly predicted HTW and SV, and HTW significantly predicted SV. As hypothesized, the relationship between CEA and SV was no longer significant after controlling for HTW, supporting the role of HTW as a mediator between CEA and SV. Efforts that aim to prevent CEA or that address early aggressive attitudes or behavior toward women may have a positive impact on preventing or reducing SV.

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