Date of Award

Summer 8-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Walter Buboltz


Rape and sexual assault are a pervasive worldwide phenomenon found across cultures affecting all genders. Rape and sexual assault often take a grave toll on the survivors. Per research, 1 in 5 women, and 1 in 75 men will experience rape, while 33.3% of women, and 16.6% of men report experiencing forced sexual contact in their lifetime (Smith et al., 2017). Research shows sexual assault often has a profoundly negative impact on survivors, leaving them at greater risk for posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, major depressive disorder, and suicidal ideation that results in death by suicide (Zinzow et al., 2011). Using reactance theory framework, the purpose of this study was to investigate if clinical anger (a more severe and chronic type of anger) moderated the relationship between sexual coercion and psychological reactance. This study surveyed 498 participants recruited via social media and a university listserv. Results showed verbal and behavioral reactance positively correlated to sexual coercion. Additionally, verbal and behavioral reactance positively correlated to clinical anger. Clinical anger was not shown to moderate the relationship between reactance and sexual coercion. These findings suggest that while reactance does have some link to sexual coercion and clinical anger, clinical anger is does not strengthen or moderate the relationship between psychological reactance and sexual coercion.