Sexual aggression (SA) is a serious public-health problem on college campuses, and there is a pressing need for basic research fostering the development of novel prevention strategies. The current study (a) developed measures of protective behavioral strategies (PBS) for sexual aggression (SA) and risky sex (RS); (b) characterized college men's PBS use; and (c) evaluated whether those who reported engaging in SA and RS showed lower PBS use. Undergraduate men from two universities (n = 567) who endorsed sexual attraction toward women completed measures of PBS, SA, RS, rape-supportive and sociosexual attitudes, and alcohol consumption. On average, participants reported using PBS for SA and RS fairly often, but a sizeable number indicated that they seldom or never used the strategies. Men who reported SA engagement in the last year, relative to their peers, endorsed sharply lower reliance on SA PBS and RS PBS. Men who reported at least one RS behavior in the last year used RS PBS far less often than their peers. The PBS measures converged as expected with other attitudinal and behavioral measures. The new PBS measures reference cognitive-behavioral approaches that a large percentage of college men use on a regular basis, making them potentially acceptable prevention targets. Further, men at greater risk of exhibiting SA are much less likely to take steps to reduce the risks associated with sexual behavior, in comparison with their peers. Thus, future work could evaluate the potential usefulness of incorporating PBS for SA and RS into primary prevention programming in both domains.
- protective behavioral strategies
- risky sex
- sexual aggression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)