Cognition or involvement? Explaining sexual-coercion in high-school dating

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The purpose of the present study was to examine a predictive model of perpetration of, and victimization by, sexual coercive practices. The theoretical perspective focused on the interactive nature of dating and sexual coercion within the dating context. The interactive nature of sexual coercion assumes that in each dating encounter, partners have expectations of developing some level of sexual and romantic relations. Thus, one of the partners may initiate a sexual advancement, while the other reacts to this initiation. The reaction may range from cooperation, through passive reaction to straight forward resistance. Any attempt to continue in the face of resistance should be defined as an attempt at sexual coercion. In order to asses perpetration and victimization risks, a planned behavior model was examined, including the relative importance of personal attitudes and subjective norms, operationalized as perceived peers' expectations. Further, the role of other factors related to social/cultural background (such as immigration status, religiosity, and gender) in contributing to either risk of victimization and perpetration was examined. Instruments and sample: A factorial survey design was carried out on a sample of 329 adolescents in eleventh grade, 157 males and 172 females. The findings indicate that males are more prone to both victimization and perpetration of sexual coercion. Overall, the current conceptualization of dating sexual coercion as an interactional process, based on socially constructed and personally interpreted scripts, has enabled the comparison of two major explanatory models - the TPB and the involvement model, and to show the primacy of involvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-329
Number of pages19
JournalSexual Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Adolescents
  • Dating sexual coercion
  • Perpetrator/victim overlap
  • Planned behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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