Attitudinal, experiential, and situational predictors of sexual assault perpetration.

Past research demonstrates that sexual assault perpetration is caused by multiple factors including attitudes, early experiences, and situational factors. In this study, 343 college men described either a sexual assault they had committed or their worst date. Discriminant function analysis indicated that attitudes about gender roles and alcohol, number of consensual sex partners, how well the man knew the woman, how isolated the setting was, alcohol consumption during the event, the man's misperception of the woman's cues during the event, and prior consensual sexual activity between the man and the woman discriminated between sexual assaults and worst dates. Additionally, tactics used to obtain sex, self attributions, the perceived seriousness of the assault, and the extent to which it disrupted relationships with others significantly discriminated between men who committed forced sexual contact, sexual coercion, and rape. These results demonstrate the importance of considering both individual characteristics and situational factors in theories and prevention activities
Author: 
Abbey,Antonia
McAuslan,Pam
Zawacki,Tina
Clinton,A.Monique
Buck,Philip O.
Notes: 
IL- 4 charts AN- 5046357 Full Text: Unavailable
Reprint Status: 
IN FILE
Start Page: 
784
End Page: 
807
Journal/Periodical Name: 
Journal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume: 
16
Issue: 
8
Abstract: 
This study examines individual differences and situational factors involved in sexual assault by comparing descriptions of worst dates to descriptions of sexual assaults. Males (N = 343) were recruited at a large, urban university and asked to complete a questionnaire. Several self-report measures were included to assess: social desirability, gender role attitudes, alcohol-related attitudes, consensual sexual experiences history, previous experiences with misperception, peer support for nonconsensual sex, perpetration of sexual assault, characteristics of the sexual assault or worst date with a woman (i.e., the latter, if no sexual assault was reported), and characteristics of the sexual assault (including attributions of responsibility and outcomes). Results indicated that 33% of the sample had committed some type of sexual assault, of which 8% met the legal requirements to constitute an act of attempted or completed rape. Discriminant function analysis revealed that several variables differentiated perpetrators from nonperpetrators. These were: attitudes about gender roles and alcohol (i.e., hostile gender role beliefs, alcohol and sexual expectancies, approval for use of verbal pressure), past consensual sexual experience (i.e., number of previous partners), and characteristics of the situation (i.e., degree of familiarity, degree of isolation, role of alcohol during the interaction, duration of misperception, and prior consensual activity between the man and the woman involved). Additional analyses demonstrated that forced contacts, sexual coercions, and rapes could be differentiated along the following predictors: tactics used by perpetrators (i.e., verbal pressure, physical force, or alcohol/drugs), self-attributions related to the assault (i.e., regarding their behavior, alcohol consumption, and role of peer pressure), and outcomes (i.e., perception of seriousness and effect on the relationship between the man and the woman). The results of this study underscore the need to examine individual as well as situational variables that may differentiate between types of perpetrators and types of sexual assaults. In turn, such knowledge would enhance prevention activities.
Topic Areas: 
Alcohol, Male-Female Relations, Perpetration
Reference Type: 
JOUR
Reference ID: 
2
Publication Date: 
2001/08