Sexual Coercion Context and Psychosocial Correlates Among Diverse Males

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Abstract

Sexual coercion is a pervasive problem but rarely examined in men. This study examined sexual coercion and psychosocial correlates among 284 diverse adolescent and emerging adult males in high school and college. Over 4 in 10 participants (43%) experienced sexual coercion: more specifically, the participants reported: verbal coercion (31%, n = 86), seduction coercion (26%, n = 73), physical coercion (18% n = 52), and substance coercion (7%, n = 19). Rates were comparable across high school and college students. Racial differences were found such that Asian participants reported significantly lower rates of sexual coercion than Black, White, and Latino participants. Ninety-five percent of the respondents reported women as the perpetrators; participants also described internal obligation, seductive, and peer pressure tactics in descriptions of coercion experiences. Sexual coercion tactic (i.e., verbal, substance, seduction, physical) and resulting sexual activity (i.e., fondling/attempted intercourse, completed intercourse) were associated with psychosocial outcomes. Specifically, sexual coercion that resulted in sexual intercourse was associated with greater sexual risk-taking and alcohol use. Verbal and substance coercion were associated with psychological distress, and substance coercion was also associated with sexual risk-taking. Considerations for future research and practice implications are discussed.

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