Date of Award

5-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Todd M. Moore

Committee Members

Debora Welsh, James K. McNulty

Abstract

Sexual coercion, the use of manipulative tactics to have sexual contact with another person against their will, is experienced frequently by women in dating relationships. Cross sectional data suggests this type of experience is associated with deleterious outcomes for women’s mental health and relationship satisfaction. To date, no published studies have examined how sexual coercion relates to women’s well-being and relationship functioning on a daily basis or their satisfaction with dating relationships over time. The present study measured the frequency of 4 sexual coercion tactics (i.e., arousal, verbal, intoxication and force) and their association with women’s wellbeing and relationship functioning using daily diary and longitudinal methods. Data were collected from 137 undergraduate women who were at least 18 years of age and in a dating relationship with a man. At baseline, participants completed in-person surveys assessing demographics, sexual victimization history, sexual coercion by the current partner, and relationship satisfaction. For the next 2 weeks participants responded to daily internet surveys on sexual coercion, affect, and relationship satisfaction. One month after the last daily survey participants completed a follow-up online survey. Sixty-three percent of women reported sexual coercion at some point in their relationship. On days when women reported partner use of verbal and intoxication tactics they reported increased conflict and decreased positive affect, respectively. Arousal and force tactics were unrelated to daily measures. Frequency of verbal, intoxication and force tactics, but not arousal tactics, reported at follow-up were associated with increased relationship conflict. No coercive tactics were related to relationship support or depth over time.

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