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A Mediational-Hierarchical Model of Sexual Aggression
Unformatted Document Text:  A Mediational-Hierarchical Model of Sexual Aggression Page 3 of 23 more convenient and ubiquitous with the development of communication technology, the role that sexualized media plays in the incidence of sexual aggression is an issue with which society will probably have to contend. Certainly, science cannot answer questions concerning moral values, but science does attempt to discern the empirical relationship between sexually explicit media and sexual aggression. Although a causal relationship between sexually explicit media and sexual aggression has been established under the artificial conditions of experimental studies, correlational data and naturalistic studies do not offer a great deal of support for such a clear conclusion. In experiments that manipulate exposure to pornography and examine the effect upon attitudes or aggressive behavior as the dependent measure, the overall data show that exposure to pornography, under controlled conditions, does cause an increase in attitudes supporting sexual aggression, and/or aggressive behavior (Allen, Emmers, et al., 1995; Allen, D’Allegssio, & Brezgel, 1995; cited in Malamuth, Addison & Koss, 2000). The main limitation of these studies is one of external validity. In the vast majority of studies, aggressive behavior is measured almost immediately after exposure to the violent pornographic films, and raises question as to how long these effects last, whether such effects are cumulative, or whether they disappear over time. Naturalistic studies and correlational data have yielded fairly weaker support for the correlation between pornography and sexual aggression. Allen et al.’s meta-analysis (1995) of naturalistic studies on the non-criminal population evinced a non-significant correlation between pornography and attitudes supporting sexual aggression. Meanwhile, the few naturalistic studies examining sexual aggression and pornography in the non-criminal population have found significant associations, (Boeringer, 1994; Crossman, 1995). Malamuth, Addison and Koss (2000) have shown that high pornography consumption is not necessarily indicative of high risk for sexual aggression; rather, the association was moderated by the Confluence Model. Among men classified as high-risk by the Confluence Model, those men who were additionally very frequent users of pornography were much more likely to have engaged in sexual aggression than high-risk males who consumed pornography less frequently. Among low-risk male subjects classified by the Confluence Model, different levels of pornography consumption showed no significant effect on sexually aggressive behavior. The finding suggests “a circular relationship between high coercive tendencies and interest in certain content in pornography, whereby aggressive men are drawn to the images in pornography that reinforce and thereby increase the likelihood of their controlled, impersonal and hostile orientation to sexuality.” (Malamuth et al., 2000, p. 85). Similarly, Donnerstein (1986) argued against a linear causal relationship, stating, “In none of the studies by Malamuth has a measure of motivation such as "likelihood to rape” ever changed as a result of exposure to pornography. If the men reported feeling this way, it might be because they were generally callous about rape to begin with.” General Features of Sexual Aggression The literature on sexual aggression can be clearly organized according to how sexual aggressors are identified: based on convicted sexual crimes or based on self-report data. Research relying on self-report data of non-incarcerated men has mainly focused on characteristics specifically associated with the incidence of sexual aggression, such as

Authors: vega, vanessa. and Malamuth, Neil.
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A Mediational-Hierarchical Model of Sexual Aggression
Page 3 of 23
more convenient and ubiquitous with the development of communication technology, the
role that sexualized media plays in the incidence of sexual aggression is an issue with
which society will probably have to contend.
Certainly, science cannot answer questions concerning moral values, but science
does attempt to discern the empirical relationship between sexually explicit media and
sexual aggression. Although a causal relationship between sexually explicit media and
sexual aggression has been established under the artificial conditions of experimental
studies, correlational data and naturalistic studies do not offer a great deal of support for
such a clear conclusion. In experiments that manipulate exposure to pornography and
examine the effect upon attitudes or aggressive behavior as the dependent measure, the
overall data show that exposure to pornography, under controlled conditions, does cause
an increase in attitudes supporting sexual aggression, and/or aggressive behavior (Allen,
Emmers, et al., 1995; Allen, D’Allegssio, & Brezgel, 1995; cited in Malamuth, Addison
& Koss, 2000). The main limitation of these studies is one of external validity. In the
vast majority of studies, aggressive behavior is measured almost immediately after
exposure to the violent pornographic films, and raises question as to how long these
effects last, whether such effects are cumulative, or whether they disappear over time.
Naturalistic studies and correlational data have yielded fairly weaker support for
the correlation between pornography and sexual aggression. Allen et al.’s meta-analysis
(1995) of naturalistic studies on the non-criminal population evinced a non-significant
correlation between pornography and attitudes supporting sexual aggression. Meanwhile,
the few naturalistic studies examining sexual aggression and pornography in the non-
criminal population have found significant associations, (Boeringer, 1994; Crossman,
1995). Malamuth, Addison and Koss (2000) have shown that high pornography
consumption is not necessarily indicative of high risk for sexual aggression; rather, the
association was moderated by the Confluence Model. Among men classified as high-risk
by the Confluence Model, those men who were additionally very frequent users of
pornography were much more likely to have engaged in sexual aggression than high-risk
males who consumed pornography less frequently. Among low-risk male subjects
classified by the Confluence Model, different levels of pornography consumption showed
no significant effect on sexually aggressive behavior. The finding suggests “a circular
relationship between high coercive tendencies and interest in certain content in
pornography, whereby aggressive men are drawn to the images in pornography that
reinforce and thereby increase the likelihood of their controlled, impersonal and hostile
orientation to sexuality.” (Malamuth et al., 2000, p. 85). Similarly, Donnerstein (1986)
argued against a linear causal relationship, stating, “In none of the studies by Malamuth
has a measure of motivation such as "likelihood to rape” ever changed as a result of
exposure to pornography. If the men reported feeling this way, it might be because they
were generally callous about rape to begin with.”
General Features of Sexual Aggression

The literature on sexual aggression can be clearly organized according to how sexual
aggressors are identified: based on convicted sexual crimes or based on self-report data.
Research relying on self-report data of non-incarcerated men has mainly focused on
characteristics specifically associated with the incidence of sexual aggression, such as


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