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A Mediational-Hierarchical Model of Sexual Aggression
Unformatted Document Text:  A Mediational-Hierarchical Model of Sexual Aggression Page 5 of 23 Examples of Negative Masculinity items include: “I feel that ‘I’m the greatest’ and better than other people,” and “I am a self-centered person.” A key difference between the PCL-R scale and Confluence model is that the former includes a measure of empathy while the latter does not. However, researchers have examined the relationship between empathy and sexual aggression in the context of the Confluence Model, and have generally supported the conclusion that empathy plays a moderating role in the perpetration of sexual aggression. Dean & Malamuth (1997) demonstrated that the construct entitled “nurturance” (versus self-centeredness) had a moderating effect in the relationship between the Confluence Model and self-reported sexually aggressive behavior. Recently, Wheeler, Williams & Dahl, (2001) have demonstrated the same moderating effect of a more generalized dispositional empathy, measured using the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (Davis, 1983). Consistent with an association between psychopathy and sexual aggression, rapists who score high on psychopathy have been reported to show a low degree of empathy coupled with high deviant sexual arousal when confronted with scenarios depicting sexual victimization, (Rice et al 1994). Other researchers have looked at factors that contribute to sexual aggression within a hierarchical mediational framework, and in this context, there has been support for personality traits associated with callousness, arrogance and empathy leading to the incidence of sexual aggression. Lim and Howard (1998) proposed and supported a hierarchical model that incorporates both general and specific features of sexual aggression. These investigators replicated the Confluence Model in Singapore and also included measures of such general constructs as Antisociality and Belligerence. Taken together, these closely parallel key components of the Hare PLC-R Psychopathy scale. Belligerence (impulsiveness and general antisocial behavior) and Antisociality (lack of concern about how others react to one’s behaviors) exerted indirect effects on both sexual aggression and nonsexual aggression. Knight and Knight (in press) conducted an analysis in a sample of 275 adult male sexual offenders and found support for a model similar to the Confluence Model, suggesting that there may be a third constellation of characteristics more specific to “callous unemotional“ characteristics. 1 The Present Study In the present study, we attempted to extend and further develop a hierarchical-mediation version of the Confluence Model of sexual aggression. In specifying the hierarchy between general and specific factors, we sought to offer a more complete account of the features that contribute to sexually aggressive behavior. Based on the supportive findings for the roles of low empathy, emotional dyscontrol/impulsivity and grandiosity/arrogance/callousness as general contributors to psychopathy and sexual aggression, we examined the effectiveness of the General Hostility construct as composed of Empathic Concern, (Davis, 1983), Irritability, (Caprara, 1985) and Negative Masculinity, (Bem 1974). 1 The Callous/Unemotional construct is composed of Negative Masculinity, Cunning/Superficial Charm and Emotional Dyscontrol

Authors: vega, vanessa. and Malamuth, Neil.
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A Mediational-Hierarchical Model of Sexual Aggression
Page 5 of 23
Examples of Negative Masculinity items include: “I feel that ‘I’m the greatest’ and better
than other people,” and “I am a self-centered person.”
A key difference between the PCL-R scale and Confluence model is that the
former includes a measure of empathy while the latter does not. However, researchers
have examined the relationship between empathy and sexual aggression in the context of
the Confluence Model, and have generally supported the conclusion that empathy plays a
moderating role in the perpetration of sexual aggression. Dean & Malamuth (1997)
demonstrated that the construct entitled “nurturance” (versus self-centeredness) had a
moderating effect in the relationship between the Confluence Model and self-reported
sexually aggressive behavior. Recently, Wheeler, Williams & Dahl, (2001) have
demonstrated the same moderating effect of a more generalized dispositional empathy,
measured using the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (Davis, 1983). Consistent with an
association between psychopathy and sexual aggression, rapists who score high on
psychopathy have been reported to show a low degree of empathy coupled with high
deviant sexual arousal when confronted with scenarios depicting sexual victimization,
(Rice et al 1994).
Other researchers have looked at factors that contribute to sexual aggression
within a hierarchical mediational framework, and in this context, there has been support
for personality traits associated with callousness, arrogance and empathy leading to the
incidence of sexual aggression. Lim and Howard (1998) proposed and supported a
hierarchical model that incorporates both general and specific features of sexual
aggression. These investigators replicated the Confluence Model in Singapore and also
included measures of such general constructs as Antisociality and Belligerence. Taken
together, these closely parallel key components of the Hare PLC-R Psychopathy scale.
Belligerence (impulsiveness and general antisocial behavior) and Antisociality (lack of
concern about how others react to one’s behaviors) exerted indirect effects on both sexual
aggression and nonsexual aggression.
Knight and Knight (in press) conducted an analysis in a sample of 275 adult male
sexual offenders and found support for a model similar to the Confluence Model,
suggesting that there may be a third constellation of characteristics more specific to
“callous unemotional“ characteristics.
1
The Present Study

In the present study, we attempted to extend and further develop a hierarchical-mediation
version of the Confluence Model of sexual aggression. In specifying the hierarchy
between general and specific factors, we sought to offer a more complete account of the
features that contribute to sexually aggressive behavior. Based on the supportive findings
for the roles of low empathy, emotional dyscontrol/impulsivity and
grandiosity/arrogance/callousness as general contributors to psychopathy and sexual
aggression, we examined the effectiveness of the General Hostility construct as
composed of Empathic Concern, (Davis, 1983), Irritability, (Caprara, 1985) and Negative
Masculinity, (Bem 1974).
1
The Callous/Unemotional construct is composed of Negative Masculinity, Cunning/Superficial Charm
and Emotional Dyscontrol


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