Automatic Associations and Conscious Attitudes Predict Different Aspects of Men’s Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Harassment Proclivities
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Intimate partner violence against women (IPV) and sexual harassment are both widespread. Research on their causes and attitudinal correlates has rarely examined implicit, automatic cognitive associations related to the partner (in IPV aggressors) or to women (in sexual harassment offenders). The aim of the present research was to study these implicit associations in 129 male German students. Participants completed scales of hostile sexism (HS), masculine gender role stress (MGRS), short-term (STMO) and long-term mating orientation (LTMO), and proclivity to both IPV and sexual harassment. Next they performed a primed lexical decision task that measured whether concepts of violence, power, hostility, and sexuality were differentially associated with representations of women, men, and the participant’s own intimate partner. Results showed that implicit associations of own partner with violence as well as hostility were generally high but did not correlate strongly with the proclivity measures. Furthermore, the proclivity measures were positively predicted by HS, MGRS, and STMO, whereas LTMO negatively predicted IPV proclivity. Practice implications point to the need to address early socialization processes that may shape men’s negative associations with female partners. Some strategies to prevent and reduce these types of implicit associations are discussed.
KeywordsIntimate partner violence Implicit associations Implicit measures Lexical decision task Semantic priming Sexual harassment
The present study was performed as part of projects PSI2013-45041-P and PSI2016-79812-P funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and as part of the Scholarship for Teacher Training University [FPU 2012, AP2012-2824] funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport to the first author. Gerd Bohner gratefully acknowledges support from the Gender Studies Program of the Ministry for Innovation, Science, and Research of the State of North-Rhine Westfalia, Germany. The authors would like to thank Luz María Saldarriaga and Miriam Seidel for their help with preparing materials and data collection, as well as Benjamin Liersch for technical and computing assistance, and Dr. Pedro Macizo for his expertise and assistance with the data analysis.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
This study was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness [Grants no. PSI2013–45041-P; PSI2016–79812-P] and by the grant AP2012–2824 from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport awarded to the corresponding author.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Research Involving Human Participants
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Ethics Committee of Bielefeld University and the ethical guidelines of the German Association of Psychology.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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