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Understanding Male Athlete Sexual Aggression: Masculinity, Sexual Aggression, & Athletic Participation

Sexual victimization is a serious public health issue in the United States, particularly on its college campuses. Several attempts have been made to identify groups at high risks for exhibiting sexually aggressive behaviors. In the same vein, this study examines the relationship between athletic participation and sexual aggression with a focus on wrestlers. The author hypothesized that wrestling participation and athletic participation would be positively correlated with sexual aggression. However, it was also hypothesized that this relationship would be mediated by masculinity (gender role conflict) and masculinity related variables (sexual entitlement and competitiveness). A one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) followed by post hoc tests found no significant difference between Wrestlers and Non-Athletes on levels of sexual aggression at the p = .05 level. Similarly, no significant differences were found between Other Athletes and Non-Athletes at the same alpha level. However, a near significant difference (p = .058) was found between Multisport Athletes and Other Athletes. A regression analysis was also conducted, which found sexual entitlement, wrestling participation, and drinking intensity as significant predictors of sexual aggression. However, a partial correlation analysis found no mediating effects between wrestling participation and sexual aggression when sexual entitlement and drinking intensity were held constant. Recommendations for rape prevention programs were made based on these findings.