Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Faculty/School

Faculty of Science

First Contributor

Eileen Wood

Contributor Role

Thesis Supervisor

Abstract

The present research assessed whether males who exhibited delinquent acts in their youth would be likely to demonstrate aggression against women as adults. Attitudinal information was also collected to see whether attitudes supporting aggression would mediate the relation between juvenile delinquency and adult aggression against women. Male undergraduates (N = 185) responded to a 68-item, comprehensive measure of delinquency that included five subscales (Official Contact, School and Family Offenses, Serious Crime, Delinquency, and Drug Offenses), three attitudinal measures (Rape Myth Acceptance, Adversarial Sexual Beliefs, and Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence) and two measures of aggression against women (Sexual Experiences Survey and Conflict Tactics Scale). Given a very low rate of reported sexual aggression and physical violence, analyses were only performed using the Verbal Abuse subscale of the Conflict Tactics Scale as the measure of aggression. Three hypotheses were tested and confirmed. Delinquency (total and all subscales) successfully predicted verbal abuse. Attitudes supporting aggression contributed significant increments in the variance of verbal abuse above and beyond delinquency alone. Attitudes supporting aggression mediated the relationship between delinquency and verbal abuse, for total delinquency and for all subscales except for the drug subscale. Overall, the findings suggest a relation between juvenile delinquency and subsequent verbal aggression against women in adulthood. However, the data also suggest that attitudes supporting aggression do not operate as the sole mediator. Research and practical implications are discussed.

Convocation Year

1996

Convocation Season

Fall

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