Behavioural Coherence in Violent Group Activity: An Interpersonal Model of Sexually Violent Gang Behaviour
This study provides an analysis of offender-victim interactions in 223 cases of sexual violence committed in gangs. Cases were derived from archival sources such as law reports. A multivariate analysis revealed four interpersonal themes (dominance, submission, co-operation, and hostility) previously identified in studies of lone sexual assault [Alison and Stein, Vicious Circles: Accounts of stranger sexual assault reflect abusive variants of conventional interactions. J Forensic Psychiatry 12:515-538, 2001]. These themes have also been identified in many other forms of human relating [Wiggins, An informal history of the interpersonal circumplex tradition. J Pers Assess 66:217-233, 1996] and conform to a structure known as the interpersonal circumplex. The circumplex has previously been used to conceptualise the relationships between individuals in terms of dynamic interactions that are mutually influencing. Thus, dominance elicits submission and submission elicits dominance. Each interpersonal style could be further subdivided according to the use of either verbally or physically abusive strategies. Point-Biserial correlations with other aspects of the offence (e.g., mobility of the group, post-offence treatment of the victim) provided additional support for these conceptually different themes and demonstrated that gang rape represents a distorted and violent form of interpersonal relating. Further, this dynamic interaction emerges not just at an individual level, but at a group level, suggesting that the thematic concepts underpinning the interpersonal circumplex can be extended to group activity and sexually aggressive behaviour.
Psychology not elsewhere classified