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Testing a Dual Process Model of Gender-Based Violence: A Laboratory Examination

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The dire impact of gender-based violence on society compels development of models comprehensive enough to capture the diversity of its forms. Research has established hostile sexism (HS) as a robust predictor of gender-based violence. However, to date, research has yet to link men's benevolent sexism (BS) to physical aggression toward women, despite correlations between BS and HS and between BS and victim blaming. One model, the opposing process model of benevolent sexism (Sibley & Perry, 2010), suggests that, for men, BS acts indirectly through HS to predict acceptance of hierarchy-enhancing social policy as an expression of a preference for in-group dominance (i. e., social dominance orientation [SDO]). The extent to which this model applies to gender-based violence remains untested. Therefore, in this study, 168 undergraduate men in a U. S. university participated in a competitive reaction time task, during which they had the option to shock an ostensible female opponent as a measure of gender-based violence. Results of multiple-mediation path analyses indicated dual pathways potentiating gender-based violence and highlight SDO as a particularly potent mechanism of this violence. Findings are discussed in terms of group dynamics and norm-based violence prevention.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Georgia, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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