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Public house patrons' engagement in hypothetical sexual assault: a test of Alcohol Myopia Theory in a field setting

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Abstract

Previous research has found that drinking establishments are often antecedent to sexual aggression outcomes. In this study, male participants were randomly selected from public houses (i.e., “pubs”) and asked to imagine themselves in a hypothetical intimate encounter in which the female in the scenario stops consenting to sexual contact. Participants were given the option to continue making sexual advances up to and including sexual intercourse against the woman's will. It was hypothesized based on Alcohol Myopia Theory that participant blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels would be associated with hypothetical sexual aggression when stereotypical cues of a woman's sexual availability (revealing clothing and alcohol use) were present in the scenario. Men's engagement in hypothetical sexual aggression was associated with BAC levels, but only when the woman was wearing revealing clothing. The sobriety of the female actor was not associated with sexual aggression. Results indicate that Alcohol Myopia Theory generalizes to a field setting. Aggr Behav 37:547–558, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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