Date of Award

Winter 1-11-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dominic Parrott, PhD

Second Advisor

Sarah Cook, PhD

Third Advisor

Lindsey Cohen, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Akihiko Masuda, PhD

Abstract

This study examined the independent and interactive effects of acute alcohol consumption, perceived alcohol consumption of a female confederate, and distal alcohol expectancies of intoxicated women, on sexual aggression. Participants were a diverse community sample (54% African-American) of heterosexual males (N = 156) between 21 and 35 years of age who were recruited to complete the study with a male friend and an ostensibly single, heterosexual female who reported a strong dislike of sexual content in the media. Sexual aggression was measured utilizing a well-validated laboratory paradigm in which participants viewed a sexually explicit or non-sexually explicit video clip as part of a contrived media rating task and made individual choices of which video clip to show the female confederate. Sexual aggression was operationalized as selection of the sexually explicit video, as opposed to the non-sexually explicit video. Results demonstrated that acute alcohol consumption, perceived female alcohol consumption, and distal alcohol expectancies of women’s vulnerability to sexual coercion and sexual drive while intoxicated, were not significantly related to sexual aggression utilizing the current paradigm. Post-hoc analyses revealed that the primary predictor variables were significantly related to participants’ perceived distress of a female confederate following an act of sexual aggression. Discussion focused on understanding what factors may have been relevant in understanding why the primary predictor variables were not significantly related to sexual aggression utilizing the current paradigm. Finally, clinical implications were explored in addressing a lack of perceived distress in potential female victims by individuals who endorsed higher levels of distal alcohol expectancies of intoxicated women’s vulnerability to sexual coercion and what potential interventions be utilized clinically.

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