Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services

First Advisor

Sarah Edwards


Sexual aggression researchers have struggled to find a specific profile of individuals likely to become sexually aggressive (Abbey, 2005). As most of the research has focused on internal personal characteristics, some researchers have called for more research into external or situational factors that may increase the likelihood for men to become sexual perpetrators (Farris, Viken & Treat, 2010). Thus, the current investigation sought to explore the impact of two promising external factors, sexually objectifying media and social threat, on sexual coercion proclivity. Sexual coercion is a much lesser studied form of sexual aggression but is very common and often normalized in U.S. culture (Testa & Derman, 1999). Additionally, narcissism was explored as an impacting factor because narcissists have been shown to compensate with increased aggression upon social threat (Stucke & Sporer, 2002; Konrath et al., 2006). Participants included 299 heterosexual men ages 18 – 35 years who were recruited over Amazon Mechanical Turk and exposed to sexually objectifying music videos and a social threat condition, Cyberball, before answering questions about their likelihood to engage in sexual coercion. It was found that these external factors did not increase sexual coercion proclivity. Men higher in narcissistic characteristics showed higher sexual coercion proclivity, but there was minimal support suggesting that narcissists respond in a compensatory manner to social threat with increased sexual coercion. Recommendations for future research include studying both proximal and distal factors and designing more ecological studies to truly understand the complex nature of sexual coercion.