Perception of cues in conflictual dating situations: A test of the miscommunication hypothesis
Author ORCID Identifier
Violence Against Woman
To account for the disturbing prevalence of acquaintance rape, both researchers and lay people often use the Miscommunication Hypothesis - the assumption that most acquaintance rape and coercive sex follow from miscommunication between men and women. The present study was designed as a pilot to begin to empirically investigate the Miscommunication Hypothesis. Equal numbers of men and women wrote short essays in response to a scenario describing a dating interaction in which sexual conflict occurred. For the 40 participants, gender differences in the meanings of behavioral cues for sexual interest, nonconsent, and coercion, were not associated with their perceptions or descriptions of coercive sex. These findings call into question the validity of the Miscommunication Hypothesis, suggesting that relatively few men may engage in sexual coercion without realizing, or being able to realize, that that is what they are doing. The study therefore also raises questions about the efficacy of many rape prevention programs.
McCaw, Jodee M. and Senn, Charlene Y.. (1998). Perception of cues in conflictual dating situations: A test of the miscommunication hypothesis. Violence Against Woman, 4 (5), 609-624.