Personality characteristics, attitudes and perceptions of rape among incarcerated sex offenders

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Personality characteristics, attitudes and perceptions of rape among incarcerated sex offenders

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Title: Personality characteristics, attitudes and perceptions of rape among incarcerated sex offenders
Author: Dahl, Barbara J
Abstract: This relationships among dispositional variables, situational variables and rape supportiveness was examined in a sample of incarcerated sex offenders. Previous surveys have shown that dispositional variables are determinants of sexual aggression. Research has also shown that situational variables, such as alcohol and anger, are recurrent proximal determinants of sexual aggression. This study pursued four main goals. First, we attempted to replicate Malamuth's Confluence Model of Sexual Aggression, hypothesizing Hostile Masculinity and Impersonal Sex would interactively predict higher rape supportiveness. Second, we examined whether generalized empathy would moderate the Confluence Model. Third, using audiotaped rape vignettes to vary the situational circumstances, we evaluated the effects of the actor's alcohol intoxication and anger. Lastly, based on the conventional wisdom that psychotherapeutic treatment reduces tendencies toward sexual aggression, the influence of exposure to treatment on rape supportiveness was examined. Rape supportiveness, the dependent measure, consisted of four subscales: self-reported likelihood to rape, sexual arousal to the vignette, perpetrator exoneration, and victim blame. Participants included 71 rapists and child sex offenders recruited from the sex offender treatment program at Twin Rivers Correction Center. Participants completed dispositional instruments, listened to an audiotaped rape vignette and completed the dependent measure. Overall, the data did not support the Confluence Model hypothesis that Hostile Masculinity and Impersonal sex would interactively determine rape supportiveness. However, Hostile Masculinity exerted significant main effects accounting for the variance in scores of 3 for the 4 rape supportiveness subscales. The extension of the Confluence Model was not supported since empathy did not moderate the relationship between the dispositional variables and rape supportiveness. The experimental manipulation of the situational variables did not yield the hypothesized effects; however, exploratory analyses revealed that alcohol interacted with Impersonal Sex to influence likelihood to rape and sexual arousal. Anger generated a main effect but opposite to prediction. Lastly, a significant inverse relationship was found between exposure to treatment and likelihood to rape with a trend in this direction on the remaining rape supportiveness subscales. In conclusion, the findings indicate that dispositional and situational variables influence rape supportiveness but not according to the Confluence Model hypotheses.
Description: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Washington, 1999

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