Title

Effects of violent, nonviolent-dehumanizing, and nonviolent-egalitarian sexual portrayals on sexual attitudes and beliefs

Date of Award

1994

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Advisor(s)

Clive Davis

Keywords

violence

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social Psychology

Abstract

Controversies remain over the effects of exposure to sexually explicit materials. The purpose of this study was to clarify the attitudinal and cognitive effects of exposure to sexually aggressive portrayals and to two types of nonaggressive portrayals, sexist and egalitarian. Using antipornography theory derived from observational learning as a guide, I predicted that sexually aggressive portrayals would increase beliefs and attitudes supportive of sexual aggression and inequality in relationships; nonviolent-sexist materials would increase attitudes and beliefs supportive of relationship inequalities, but not sexual aggression; and nonviolent-egalitarian materials would not affect either type of attitude or belief. Results did not support the predictions. Subjects did, however, rate sexually aggressive materials more negatively than other types and rated egalitarian materials the most positively. Results are explained in terms of consistency with the Elaboration Likelihood Model of attitude change and of increased knowledge and awareness among male college students regarding issues of sexual coercion.

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