Sexually Coercive Behavior in Male Youth: Population Survey of General and Specific Risk Factors
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Little is known about risk/protective factors for sexually coercive behavior in general population youth. We used a Swedish school-based population survey of sexual attitudes and experiences (response rate 77%) and investigated literature-based variables across sexually coercive (SEX), non-sexual conduct problem (CP), and normal control (NC) participants to identify general and specific risk/protective factors for sexual coercion. Among 1,933 male youth, 101 (5.2%) reported sexual coercion (ever talked or forced somebody into genital, oral, or anal sex) (SEX), 132 (6.8%) were classified as CP, and the remaining 1,700 (87.9%) as NC. Of 29 tested variables, 25 were more common in both SEX and CP compared to NC youth, including minority ethnicity, separated parents, vocational study program, risk-taking, aggressiveness, depressive symptoms, substance abuse, sexual victimization, extensive sexual experiences, and sexual preoccupation. When compared to CP youth only, SEX youth more often followed academic study programs, used less drugs and were less risk-taking. Further, SEX more frequently than CP youth reported gender stereotypic and pro-rape attitudes, sexual preoccupation, prostitution, and friends using violent porn. Finally, in a multivariate logistic regression, academic study program, pro-rape attitudes, sexual preoccupation, and less risk-taking independently remained more strongly associated with SEX compared to CP offending. In conclusion, several sociodemographic, family, and individual risk/protective factors were common to non-sexual and sexually coercive antisocial behavior in late adolescence. However, pro-rape cognitions, and sexual preoccupation, were sexuality-related, specific risk factors. The findings could inform preventive efforts and the assessment and treatment of sexually coercive male youth.
KeywordsSexual violence Conduct problems Sexual behavior Pornography Population survey Male youth
The Swedish Ministry of Social Affairs supported the data collection. Niklas Långström was supported by the Swedish Research Council-Medicine.
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