Examining the Role of Alcohol Use and Self-regulation Processes in an Expansion of the Confluence Model of Sexual Aggression

Date

2023

Authors

Wilson, Tiara Phipps

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Abstract

Between 33-52% of men report committing a sexually aggressive act since the age of 14 and up to 66% of sexual aggression occurs when the perpetrator has been drinking, implicating alcohol consumption as a crucial contributing factor (Zawacki & Phipps, 2022). The Confluence Model (Malamuth et al., 1991; Malamuth et al., 2021) is one of the most widely used theories of men's sexual aggression perpetration; nonetheless, it does not explicitly address the role of alcohol despite the fact that the majority of sexual aggression is committed by a drinking perpetrator. This dissertation aimed to further scientific understanding of the role of alcohol in sexual aggression by integrating alcohol use and self-regulation processes as predictors of sexual aggression in the Confluence Model and testing the expanded model via cross-sectional surveys of college men. The roles of two specific types of self-regulation processes were investigated in a series of two studies. Study 1 focused on behavior regulation and Study 2 focused on emotion regulation. In Study 1, proximal alcohol use significantly moderated the relationship between impersonal sex and number of drinking sexually aggressive acts, though not in the hypothesized direction. No significant effects were found involving behavior regulation. In Study 2, as hypothesized, a positive relationship between impersonal sex and number of drinking sexually aggressive acts was strengthened as proximal alcohol use increased. Also as hypothesized, among men high in emotion regulation difficulties, a positive relationship between hostile masculinity and number of drinking sexually aggressive acts was strengthened as proximal alcohol increased. Unexpectedly, among men high in emotion regulation difficulties, a negative relationship between impersonal sex and number of sober sexually aggressive acts was strengthened as proximal alcohol use increased. These results contribute to theoretical models of sexual aggression and hold implications for intervention efforts.

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Keywords

Confluence Model, Emotion Regulation, Perpetration, Self-Regulation, Sexual Aggression

Citation

Department

Psychology