The Influence of Alcohol Expectancies and Intoxication on Men's Aggressive Unprotected Sexual Intentions

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58 Scopus citations


An experiment tested the pathways through which alcohol expectancies and intoxication influenced men's self-reported sexual aggression intentions during an unprotected sexual encounter. After a questionnaire session, male social drinkers (N = 124) were randomly assigned to either an alcohol condition (target peak BAC = .08%) or a control condition. Upon completion of beverage consumption, participants read a description of a sexual encounter in which the female partner refused to have unprotected sexual intercourse. Participants then rated their emotional state, their intentions to have unprotected sex with the unwilling partner, and their postincident perceptions of the encounter. Structural equation modeling indicated that intoxicated men reported feeling stronger sexual aggression congruent emotions/motivations such as arousal and anger; however, this effect was moderated by alcohol expectancies. Intoxicated participants with stronger alcohol-aggression expectancies reported greater sexual aggression congruent emotions/motivations than did intoxicated participants with weaker alcohol-aggression expectancies. For sober participants, alcohol-aggression expectancies did not influence emotions/motivations. In turn, stronger sexual assault congruent emotions/motivations predicted greater sexual aggression intentions. Men with greater sexual aggression intentions were less likely to label the situation as a sexual assault and reported less concern about their intended actions. These findings underscore the relevance of both alcohol expectancies and alcohol intoxication to sexual aggression perpetration and highlight the importance of including information about alcohol's influence on both emotional and cognitive responses in sexual aggression prevention work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-428
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental and clinical psychopharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Alcohol expectancies
  • Sexual aggression
  • Unprotected sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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