Examining Sexual Crime Severity in China: A General-specific Model on Sex Offending Against Adults

You Zhou, Boyang Xu, Ivan Sun, Yan Zhang, Lennon Y.C. Chang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Sexual violence severity has long been viewed as a critical factor of sex offending. However, the criminological viewpoints on sexual violence severity have not received much attention, especially in the Chinese context. By integrating general-criminogenic (inhibitory mechanisms) and specific sex offending (learning mechanisms and contextual factors) perspectives, the current study links the propositions of social control (bonds) theory, self-control theory, differential association theory, and the integrated theory of sex offending, proposing a general-specific model for sexual violence severity. Survey data was collected from 250 Chinese offenders who committed sexual offenses against adults. The mediation analysis found that deviant peer association fully mediates the effects of social control and low self-control on sexual violence severity. The moderation analysis showed that substance abuse exaggerates the impact of deviant peer association on sexual violence severity, while sex purchasing mitigates this relationship. This general-specific model may expand our current understanding of sexual violence severity from both criminological and psychological perspectives.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-27
    JournalSexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


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