Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 543–551 | Cite as

Reexamining Individual Differences in Women’s Rape Avoidance Behaviors

  • Jeffrey K. Snyder
  • Daniel M. T. Fessler
Original Paper


A growing number of investigators explore evolutionary psychological hypotheses concerning the avoidance of rape using self-report measures of behavior. Among the most recent and most ambitious, is the work of McKibbin et al. (2011). McKibbin et al. presented evidence supporting their predictions that such behaviors would vary according to the individual’s physical attractiveness, relationship status, and proximity to kin. In addition, McKibbin et al. predicted, but failed to find evidence, that age would exercise a similar influence. We question McKibbin et al.’s position on both theoretical and empirical grounds, arguing that (1) two of their predictions do not rule out alternative explanations, and (2) their key supporting findings may well be artifacts of their measurement instrument, the Rape Avoidance Inventory (RAI). Employing new empirical evidence derived from a broader sample of U.S. women, we simultaneously tested McKibbin et al.’s predictions and compared the RAI to alternative dependent measures. We found that McKibbin et al.’s substantive predictions were not supported, and suggest that there may be limits to the utility of the RAI beyond one specific demographic category.


Sexual coercion Rape Rape avoidance Evolved psychological mechanisms 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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