Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ling Shi

Second Advisor

Teri Aronowitz

Third Advisor

Ann W. Burgess


Background: Sexual aggression (SA) is a significant problem on college and university campuses in the United States. The rates of college and university SAs have been rising over time, emphasizing the importance of focusing on factors related to perpetration in addition to support of the victims.

Purpose: The purpose of this secondary analysis was to examine how different individual- and situational-level factors including hypermasculinity, insecure adult attachment, situational alcohol use, and peer pressure, increase the proclivity of SA perpetration among male college students in the U.S.

Methods: A secondary analysis of a cross-sectional national dataset of college students was conducted using Stata 17. Study variables were examined for distribution and SA was dichotomized. Univariate and bivariate analyses were performed using Spearman’s rank correlation and logistic regression. Mediation analyses and generalized structural equation modeling were used to examine the associations among the variables.

Results: The study sample included 845 male students from 13 different colleges and universities across the U.S. The results of this study revealed a significant and positive association between hypermasculinity and SA perpetration. This relationship was seen to be partially mediated by situational alcohol use. The significant and positive relationship between insecure adult attachment style and SA perpetration was lost when controlling for other factors such as hypermasculinity and situational alcohol use, and hypermasculinity was seen to be the only mediator of this relationship. Finally, in a mid-range theory, various pathways from hypermasculinity, peer pressure, and situational alcohol use to SA perpetration were positive and significant. While the direct pathway from insecure adult attachment to SA perpetration was insignificant, the indirect pathway via situational alcohol use was negative and significant.

Conclusion & Implications: The findings suggest that the problem of SA on U.S. college and university campuses is complex and multifaceted. Understanding the different factors contributing to the increased proclivity of some male college students to perpetrate SA can aid in the development of innovative prevention interventions for perpetrators along with support for survivors, which are critically needed since survivors experience both short- and long-term psychological, physical, and social consequences including academic failure.


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