The Mediating Effect of Hostility Toward Women on the Relationship Between Childhood Emotional Abuse and Sexual Violence Perpetration

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Some evidence suggests that childhood emotional abuse (CEA) may serve as a risk factor for sexual violence (SV) perpetration; however, little is known about the mechanisms by which CEA may influence SV. This study examined the relationship between CEA and SV by assessing the mediating role of hostility toward women (HTW) in a sample of adjudicated adult males (N = 360). Approximately 1 in 5 participants was classified as sexually violent based on self-reported behavior and/or criminal records. Results indicated that CEA significantly predicted HTW and SV, and HTW significantly predicted SV. As hypothesized, the relationship between CEA and SV was no longer significant after controlling for HTW, supporting the role of HTW as a mediator between CEA and SV. Efforts that aim to prevent CEA or that address early aggressive attitudes or behavior toward women may have a positive impact on preventing or reducing SV.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2013

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  • Violence and Victims discusses theory, research, policy, and clinical practice in the area of interpersonal violence and victimization across such disciplines as psychology, sociology, criminology, law, medicine, nursing, psychiatry, and social work.

    The journal's 2012 Impact Factor is 0.981.
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