Beliefs and Attitudes About Sexual Aggression: Do Parents and Daughters Share the Same Belief System?

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This study investigated the correspondence between parents' and daughters' beliefs about sexual aggression and gender roles. The relationship between a woman's attitudes and her personal experiences with sexual victimization was also examined. The participants were 236 female undergraduates, 148 mothers, and 110 fathers. One hundred-three matching triads were collected. Participants evaluated victim responsibility for written scenarios depicting a date-rape victim. Information about gender-role attitudes, perceived family communication, and previous sexual experiences was also collected. Results indicated that daughter-mother, daughter-father, and mother-father dyads shared attitudes about gender roles and beliefs about victim responsibility. Parental attitudes also predicted daughters' attitudes, but family communication did not moderate the relationship between parental attitudes and daughters' attitudes. Mothers' and daughters' experiences of coerced sex were not associated. A relationship between attitudes and beliefs and experiences of coerced sex emerged only for mothers. Mothers with a history of coerced sex adhered to more traditional gender-role attitudes and assigned more responsibility to the date-rape victim. The need for further research in the area of familial attitudes about rape is discussed.

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Psychology of Women Quarterly, v. 23, issue 3, p. 559-572