Sexual coercion and life-history strategy

Paul R. Gladden, Melissa Sisco, Aurelio José Figueredo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The present study evaluates three ultimate theories accounting for individual differences in sexually coercive tendencies: (1) Life History (LH) theory, (2) Competitively Disadvantaged Male theory, and (3) Sexual Coercion as a By-product theory. Three-hundred twenty-four college students completed questionnaires measuring LH strategy, perceived mate value, mating effort, short-term and long-term mating orientation, aggressive tendencies, psychopathy, and sexually coercive behavior. Eight tactical subscales extracted from the Sexual Acts and Perceptions Inventory converged upon one latent Sexual Coercion factor. The predictor variables clustered into a second Protective LH latent factor, which buffered Sexual Coercion. The Protective LH factor fully mediated the relation between sex and Sexual Coercion. Thus, the three evolutionary accounts of sexual coercion describe unique facets of a single LH trait rather than three dissociable alternatives. We discuss the conclusion that reproductive LH strategy partially underlies the variation in predisposition toward sexual coercion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-326
Number of pages8
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Aggression
  • Life-history theory
  • Sex differences
  • Sexual coercion
  • Social deviance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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