Assistant Professor of Psychology Anandi Ehman and colleagues recently published an article titled, "Keyboard coercion: Online and face-to-face sexual aggression in a college sample" in the Journal of American College Health.
In this paper, the researchers examined the impact of perceived social norms of sexually aggressive behavior on college students’ engagement in and experience of sexual violence, both in online & face-to-face contexts. The authors measured perceived social norms of sexual violence, engagement in sexual violence (both online and face-to-face), and mental health outcomes (e.g., depression, anxiety, stress, and loneliness) through questionnaires in a college sample. Authors found that, 100% of the sample endorsed the belief that their peers were actively engaging in sexual violence (either online or offline). Authors also determined that victims of sexual violence online were scored significantly higher on measures of depression, anxiety, stress, and loneliness than non-victims, even when controlling for status as a victim of face-to-face violence. Lastly, authors found that the relationships between perceived social norms of sexual aggression and engagement in face-to-face sexual violence was mediated by engagement in sexual aggression online. This work highlights the importance of better understanding and addressing sexual violence in online contexts.