The roles of situational factors, attributions, and guilt in the well-being of women who have experienced sexual coercion

Glenn, Shannon A.; Byers, E. Sandra
December 2009
Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality;2009, Vol. 18 Issue 4, p201
Academic Journal
This study examined cognitive (attributions) and affective (guilt feelings) experiences of blame following sexual coercion and their association with women's psychological well-being. Sexual coercion was defined as any unwilling sexual experiences that occurred as a result of verbal pressure or physical force from another person. Women (N = 104) who had experienced sexual coercion completed questionnaires assessing psychological well-being (trauma symptoms, depression, self-esteem, sexual satisfaction), blame (internal and external attributions, guilt feelings), and characteristics of their most serious or upsetting experience of sexual coercion. A number of findings suggested that attributions and guilt feelings are related but distinct experiences for women and can have differing effects on women's psychological well-being. Multivariate multiple regression and hierarchical multiple regression analyses found that, as predicted, the blame variables predicted women's well-being over and above the situational characteristics of the coercive experience. The results are discussed in terms of the need to conceptualize self-blame as encompassing both "head" (attributions) and "heart" (emotions).


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