This study tested a transactional hypothesis predicting early adult sexual coercion from family maltreatment, early adolescent gang affiliation, and socialization of adolescent friendships that support coercive relationship norms. The longitudinal study of a community sample of 998 11-year-olds was intensively assessed in early and middle adolescence and followed to 23-24 years of age. At age 16-17 youth were videotaped with a friend, and their interactions were coded for coercive relationship talk. Structural equation modeling revealed that maltreatment predicted gang affiliation during early adolescence. Both maltreatment and gang affiliation strongly predicted adolescent sexual promiscuity and coercive relationship norms with friends at age 16-17 years. Adolescent sexual promiscuity, however, did not predict sexual coercion in early adulthood. In contrast, higher levels of observed coercive relationship talk with a friend predicted sexual coercion in early adulthood for both males and females. These findings suggest that peers have a socialization function in the development of norms prognostic of sexual coercion, and the need to consider peers in the promotion of healthy relationships.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health