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Sexual assertiveness mediates the effect of social interaction anxiety on sexual victimization risk among college women

Sexual assertiveness mediates the effect of social interaction anxiety on sexual victimization risk among college women

Behavior Therapy 44(1): 125-136

Sexual victimization is prevalent among college women and is associated with adverse psychological consequences. Social anxiety, particularly related to interpersonal interaction, may increase risk of sexual victimization among college women by decreasing sexual assertiveness and decreasing the likelihood of using assertive resistance techniques. This study examined social interaction anxiety as a risk factor for sexual victimization. College women (n=672) completed online measures of social interaction anxiety, sexual assertiveness, and sexual victimization experiences. Social interaction anxiety was significantly positively related to likelihood of experiencing coerced sexual intercourse, and significant indirect effects, via decreased sexual refusal assertiveness, were found for both coerced sexual intercourse and rape. Social anxiety may be an important psychological barrier to assertive resistance during risky sexual situations, and developers of risk reduction programs for college women should consider including methods to help women overcome their social anxiety in order to successfully use assertive resistance techniques.

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Accession: 055747395

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PMID: 23312432

DOI: 10.1016/j.beth.2012.09.001

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