Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Assessment of a Sexual Coercion Prevention Program for Adolescents

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Assessment of a Sexual Coercion Prevention Program for Adolescents

Article excerpt

This study's focus is to evaluate a sexual coercion prevention program in adolescents. Using a before-and-after design with both a treatment group (n = 93) and a control group (n = 76), an intervention of seven sessions was completed. Said sessions included such content as conceptualizing sexual freedom, sexual coercion and voluntary consent, analyzing different sexual coercion tactics and the contexts in which they occur, empathy toward the victim, and developing abilities to avoid risky situations. Other risk factors for coercive behavior and sexual victimization are explored as well, such as alcohol use, sexist attitudes and inadequate communication, among others. The intervention's results include a decrease in stereotypical beliefs about the opposite sex and increased empathy toward victims of sexual coercion. These changes were maintained with the passage of time. Also, in the treatment group, a more acute decline was observed in the proportion of young people engaging in sexually coercive behaviors. This article emphasizes the importance, necessity and efficacy of such interventions, and discusses and analyzes possible improvements to the program for its future implementation.

Keywords: evaluation, prevention, sexual coercion, adolescents, quasi-experimental.

Este estudio se centra en la evaluación de un programa de prevención de la coerción sexual en adolescentes. Basándonos en un diseño antes-después con grupo de tratamiento (n = 93) y un grupo control (n = 76), se llevaron a cabo siete sesiones de intervención que incluían contenidos como la conceptualización de libertad sexual, coerción sexual y consentimiento voluntario, el análisis de las diferentes estrategias de coerción sexual y sus contextos, la empatía hacia la víctima, el desarrollo de habilidades para evitar situaciones de riesgos. Se abordaron también otros factores de riesgo de los comportamientos coercitivos y la victimización sexual como el uso del alcohol, las actitudes sexistas y la comunicación inadecuada, entre otros. Los resultados de la intervención mostraron un descenso en las creencias estereotipadas hacia el otro sexo y un aumento de la empatía hacia las víctimas. Estos cambios se mantuvieron con el paso del tiempo. Asimismo, se observó un descenso más acusado en la proporción de jóvenes que habían llevado a cabo comportamientos sexualmente coercitivos en el grupo de tratamiento. Este trabajo resalta la importancia, necesidad y eficacia de estas intervenciones, y discute y analiza posibles mejoras de este programa para su futura implementación.

Palabras clave: evaluación, prevención, coerción sexual, adolescentes, cuasi-experimento.

Sexual aggression among young people is a serious social problem we have faced in recent decades due to its demonstrated magnitude (Spitzberg, 1999; Young & Furman, 2008; Young, Grey, & Boyd, 2009) and the clear traumatic effects it produces in its victims (Howard & Wang, 2005). In effect, numerous studies aimed at determining the incidence and prevalence of sexual coercion and assault have shown the problem to be particularly generalized among adolescents and young people (Abbey, Ross, McDuffie, & McAuslan, 1996; Gidycz, Coble, Latham, & Layman, 1993; Koss, Gidycz, & Wisniewski, 1987; Senn, Desmarais, Verberg, & Wood, 2000; Testa & Dermen, 1999). The situation is hardly different in Spain. Sipsma, Carrobles, Montorio, and Everaerd (2000) observed that 33.2% of their sample of 223 female college students reported having been implicated in some sexually coercive episode, and 24.3% of the 189 male college students in the sample reported they would employ a coercive strategy in order to have sexual relations with a girl who did not wish to do so. In other studies conducted in Spain (Fuertes, Ramos, Martínez, López, & Tabernero, 2006; Ramos, 2004; Ramos & Fuertes, 2005; Ramos, Fuertes, & De la Orden, 2006), the prevalence of sexual victimization among adolescent girls and young women, perpetrated by their male peers, has been found to range from 30 to 40%. …

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