The effects of alcohol and cue salience on young men's acceptance of sexual aggression

Nora E. Noel, Stephen A. Maisto, James D. Johnson, Lee A. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Research suggests that alcohol intoxication may increase a young man's likelihood of sexual aggression. This laboratory analogue experiment tested a disinhibition versus alcohol myopia explanation of alcohol's role by investigating effects of acute alcohol administration, expectations and individual differences drawn from Malamuth's Confluence Model of Sexual Aggression (i.e., Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence: AIV, Need for Sexual Dominance: NSD) on young men's acceptance of sexual aggression. Young adult heterosexual men (n = 334) attended two laboratory sessions each. In the first, they completed screening and individual differences measures. In the second, they were assigned randomly to consume one of four beverages: Control, Placebo, Low Dose Alcohol (0.33 ml alcohol/kg body weight) or Moderate Dose Alcohol (0.75 ml/kg) and view one of two video-delivered scenario conditions: "Anti-Force Cues" (scenario of a couple on a date with embedded explicit cues mitigating against forced sex) or "No Cues" (Identical scenario with no Anti-Force cues). Participants then judged 1) should the man continue to force the woman to have sex? 2) would they force the woman? and 3) who was responsible for the outcome? Results supported a disinhibition versus alcohol myopia model. Consuming alcohol increased acceptance of sexual aggression. Further, higher NSD and AIV scores were associated with acceptance of forced sex, but only after alcohol consumption. Overall, findings showed that key individual difference factors from Malamuth's Confluence Model enhance precision of predicting sexual aggression risk by young men under the influence of alcohol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-394
Number of pages9
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence
  • Alcohol administration
  • Heterosexual males
  • Need for Sexual Dominance
  • Sexual aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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