Only Yes Means Yes: Sexual Coercion in Rural Adolescent Relationships

A. J. Katz, Devon J. Hensel, Abby L. Hunt, Leigh S. Zaban, Monique M. Hensley, Mary A. Ott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Sexual consent is important to healthy relationships; however, sexual coercion is common. We examine modifiable risk and protective factors for sexual coercion among high school students in a rural community. Methods: We surveyed 10th graders (N = 442) in a rural, Midwestern, low-to-middle income county before receiving an evidence-based sex education program. Sexual coercion was a single item, “has anyone you were dating or going out with forced you to do sexual things that you did not want to do?” We examined associations between sexual coercion and demographics, risk behaviors, sexual self-efficacy, controlling relationship behaviors, parent communication, and adverse childhood experiences. Results: Approximately 22% of females and 8% of males reported experiencing sexual coercion at least once in their lifetime. Gender differences emerged in associated risk and protective factors, including sexual sex efficacy, controlling relationship behaviors, parent–adolescent communication about sex, and adverse childhood experiences. Conclusions: Sexual coercion is common among adolescents in rural communities. Prevention interventions should target modifiable risk and protective factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-425
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Adolescence
  • Coercion
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Rural population
  • Sex education
  • Sexual behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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