The Confluence Model of Sexual Aggression (Malamuth, 1986; 2018) is a well-established model for predicting sexual aggression among adult men. Despite proposing risk factors that originate in youth, such as having delinquent peers, the model has not been applied to explain sexual aggression among adolescent males. Further, whereas the model acknowledges the importance of peer modeling in sexual aggression, studies have rarely examined violent pornography use in relation to the Confluence Model of Sexual Aggression. Accordingly, the current study examines constructs associated with the Confluence Model with a cross-sectional sample of heterosexual 10th
grade boys (N= 904) from 28 schools in the Northeastern United States. Composite scores were generated for the constructs of the Confluence Model, including: Hostile Masculinity (HM) and Impersonal Sex (IS). Violent pornography exposure (VP) was included as an additional predictor in the model. Components of HM included bullying perpetration, engagement in homophobic teasing, school suspension or expulsion, and low levels of gender equitable attitudes. Components of IS included rape myth acceptance, perceived peer rape myth acceptance, perceived peer approval of sexual coercion, perceived peer engagement in sexually violent behavior, and personal engagement in sexual activity. The dependent variable in the logistic regression analysis was lifetime perpetration of sexual aggression, as assessed by a 14-item self-report measure of nonconsensual sexual behaviors (Basile et al., 2009).
T-tests and Chi-square analyses revealed all predictors were independently associated with likelihood of lifetime perpetration. The full model including HM, IS and VP accounted for a significant amount of variance in lifetime sexual aggression perpetration,χ2(3, N = 904 ) = 109.99, p < .001, Nagelkerke R2= .16. In the presence of the other predictors, increased HM was marginally associated with sexual aggression, Wald χ2= 3.11, p = .07. Higher levels of IS and violent pornography were positively associated with sexual aggression, Wald χ2= 56.63 p < .001; Wald χ2= 10.58, p < .01.. Structural equation models of these variables and latent constructs will also be presented.
These findings generally establish the utility of the Confluence Model for adolescent boys, showing that higher scores on impersonal sex constructs, as well as more exposure to violent pornography, are positively associated with lifetime perpetration of sexual aggression. While these data are cross-sectional in nature, they nevertheless highlight gender and sexual norms, general aggressive behavior, and peer influences as risk factors for engagement in sexual aggression among adolescent males, and also as target areas for intervention.