Date of Award

Spring 6-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor or Mentor

Elizabeth Jeglic

Second Reader

Philip Yanos

Third Advisor

Shuki Cohen


It is estimated up to 12% of all sexual abuse is perpetrated by females. However, little is known regarding the tactics that women use to perpetuate the abuse. There is evidence that almost all cases of child sexual abuse involve grooming and that female perpetrators may also engage in sexual grooming to perpetrate the abuse. Identification of sexual grooming behaviors can prevent abuse before it occurs however, previous research has found that individuals are poor at identifying sexual grooming behaviors before they occur. Using an experimental vignette design, this study compared the ability to identify sexual grooming behaviors when the perpetrator was either male or female. Participants were randomly assigned one of four vignettes which portrayed a student-teacher scenario where the teacher was either exhibiting sexual grooming behaviors or not and was either a male or a female. Results reveal that participants were significantly more likely to recognize sexual grooming behaviors if the perpetrator was male. Overall, these results suggest that the gender of the perpetrator may influence the detection of sexual grooming behaviors. These results will be discussed as they pertain to sexual violence prevention.


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