Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Alan King


The current project introduced prey drive theory, a new conceptualization of human violence perpetration adapted from canine training and breeding literature. As with canines, prey drive theory conceptualizes human aggression as a manifestation of genetically predisposed dominance and competitiveness. To evaluate the concept of human prey drive, the current study developed a prey drive model of sexual violence that was tested within a community sample of men (N = 662). Four latent trait clusters formed the foundation of the model: sexualized prey dominance, sexualized prey pursuit, antagonistic preparedness, and malevolent personality. A new scale, the Masculine Dominance Index, was developed to measure sexualized prey dominance. This prey drive model was expected to approximate or exceed the predictive validity of the gold standard in sexual violence research, the confluence mediational model (Malamuth et al., 1995). Using structural equation modeling, this prey drive model accounted for 22% of the variance in male sexual violence perpetration. While providing substantial support for prey drive theory, this model fell short of the 26% of the variance usually accounted for by the confluence mediational model. The four latent trait clusters introduced in prey drive theory warrant continued attention in sexual violence research. Future work should also include additional tests of prey drive theory in men and women, as well as improve upon the prey drive model of male sexual violence.

Included in

Psychology Commons