CRVAW Faculty Journal Articles


Verbal Coercive Sexual Behavior among College Students


Coercive sexual behavior exists at alarming rates on college campuses. Researchers attempting to identify factors related to sexual coercion have primarily investigated either the coercing college male or the coerced college female, independent of relationship factors. The present study investigated the prevalence of verbal sexual coercion, the beliefs and attitudes of sexually coercive and noncoercive men, and the differences in affective states between groups and at different stages of relationship development. Undergraduate students were grouped on the basis of their self-reported sexual experience history as being sexually inexperienced, having had consensual sexual relationships only, or having had coercive sexual relationships. Also, subjects who reported having been sexually experienced were asked to rate the nature of their relationship to their sexual partner. Subjects completed measures referring to sexual attitudes, sexual arousal patterns, and the emotional components of a sexual encounter. Analyses indicated that 42% of the males in the sample had engaged in verbal sexual coercion. Differences on the measures were found between the sexual experience groups and the relationship type subgroups. Results are discussed in the context of the situational model, in which the coercive male plays an active role in shaping his environment.

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Dr. Diane Follingstad had not been a faculty member of the University of Kentucky at the time of publication.

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