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Social Learning Theory and Sexual Aggression

Social learning theory, the theory that human behavior is learned from observing others, is one basis for understanding the etiology of some forms of interpersonal violence: having seen trauma and then subsequently being aggressive. For example, one of the predictors of committing domestic violence (for males) is having witnessed violence at home as a child. Having been beaten as a child is almost equally predictive of being a spouse abuser for males. Although these are clear findings, witnessing or experiencing trauma only accounts for about 20% of the variance in outcomes of domestic violence in most studies.

What about the aggression of sexually abusive individuals? Is that a learned behavior? Is there a cycle of intergenerational transmission? If sexually abusive individuals learned their behavior in a ...

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