The present study examined various influences on emotional responses to coercive sexual encounters in varying contexts. Because victims of coercive sexual encounters are at an increased risk for negative psychological and physiological health outcomes (Byers & Glenn, 2012), studying individual differences in response to coercive sexual encounters holds important implications for treating victims of coercive sexual encounters and sexual abuse. After completing a survey assessing their attachment in close relationships, participants were exposed to a coercive sexual encounter in the context of either a romantic relationship or a first date experience. Following exposure, participants self-reported their emotional state and perceptions of the vignette. Contradictory to my hypothesis, emotional responses and perceptions of coercion did not differ across relationship context. It was also hypothesized that adult attachment, specifically anxious and avoidant attachment, would predict specific patterns of positive affect, negative affect, perceptions of empathy, and perceived coercion in response to a coercive sexual encounter. Only attachment anxiety was found to significantly predict negative affect. Despite the lack of significant results, the present results have important implications regarding individual differences in response to and perceptions of coercive sexual encounters. Further research should note the limitations in the present study to further build on the research surrounding coercive sexual encounters.


Karazsia, Bryan




Social Psychology


Coercive Sexual Encounters, Adult Attachment, Emotional Response

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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