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The effects of age, authority, and gender on perceptions of statutory rape offenders.

Authors
  • Sahl, Daniel
  • Keene, Jennifer Reid
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of interpersonal violence
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2012
Volume
27
Issue
18
Pages
3701–3722
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1177/0886260512447523
PMID: 22645027
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Using a sample of 2,838 students from a Southwestern university in the United States, the authors examine the effect of respondent's gender, the adult's gender, the age gap between the adult and teen, and the adult's authority, on students' perceptions of vignettes describing adult-teen sexual relationships. Specifically, the authors investigate four dependent variables related to perceptions of the crime: the adult offender's emotional motivation, whether the adult is a sexual predator, whether the adult should have limited interactions with children, and whether the adult should be included on a sex offender registry. ANOVA analysis revealed that a large age gap between the adult and teen, the presence of authority in the relationship, and respondent's gender were significant predictors of perceptions of the offender as a predator and sex offender. The offender's gender significantly predicted respondents' perceived motivations but had no effect on opinions regarding sex offender registration. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for perceptions of statutory rape.

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