Disregard my larping efforts. I can’t change it.
- Sep 26, 2019
- 302d 18h 52m
Sci-Hub | Beauty is in the eye of the offender: Physical attractiveness and adolescent victimization. Journal of Criminal Justice, 101652 | 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2019.101652
Study shows that physically attractive teenage guys and teenage girls are more likely to be robbed and assaulted and are more likely to experience sexual contact with someone at least 5 years older during their teen years.
We used data from the most recent (2013) wave of the Finnish Youth Victimization Survey (FYVS 2013). This nationally re- presentative survey of adolescents living in Finland samples students from two grade levels: sixth grade (ages 12–13) and ninth grade (ages 15–16). Seventy-eight percent (78%) of the schools selected in the stratified sampling design agreed to participate. The response rate at the individual level was 75%, which means that three out of four stu- dents in the participating classrooms took part in the survey (Fagerlund, Peltola, Kääriäinen, Ellonen, & Sariola, 2014). Students accessed the survey on a website using classroom computers during a designated class period (roughly one hour). As is typical of web-based surveys, questions were displayed on the screen one at a time. Only those who made it to the final screen and pressed the ‘done’ button were included in the sample. A total of 11,419 students completed the survey across the two grade levels. 55 responses were judged to be invalid and re- moved, resulting in 11,364 valid responses. Due to the nature of the questions about physical attractiveness (see below), the present study is limited to the respondents in the 9th grade (n = 5095) and does not include 6th grade students (n = 6324; see Appendix A for descriptive results comparing 6th and 9th grade samples).
6.1.1. Interpersonal violence
We examined three types of violent victimization in this research: physical assault, robbery, and sexual victimization. The measure of assault victimization indicates whether anyone had hit or assaulted the respondent in the past 12 months (1 = yes, 0 = no). Robbery victimization indicates whether anyone had stolen something from the respondent using violence in the past 12 months. The measure of sexual victimization used in the present study is focused on child sexual abuse (CSA) and indicates whether the respondent had any sexual contact, between ages 12–16, with adults or persons who were at least five years older than him/her (1 = yes, 0 = no). The nature of incidents varies from verbal harassment, such as suggesting sexual intimacy, to pene- trative sex. Consistent with the definition of CSA (American Psychological Association, 2013, p. 30), we included incidents regardless of whether they involved overt coercion on not.*
*We ignored incidents that occurred before age 12 because the questions about physical attractiveness were asked around age 15. Although this decision undercounts the prevalence of CSA in the sample, we deemed it important to exclude incidents that were distant from the hypothesized processes. Of the 268 ninth-grade respondents reporting sexual contact with an older person, 61 cases were excluded from the analysis because the respondent either reported an initial incident occurring before age 12 or did not report an age at first incident.
6.1.2. Property crime victimization
Measured as dichotomous variables, theft and vandalism victimization indicate if, in the past 12 months, anyone had stolen anything from the respondent without using violence (theft) or broken or destroyed the respondent's property (vandalism).
6.2. Physical attractiveness
The survey features a 4-item scale (α = 0.87) of self-reported physical attractiveness (SRPA, henceforth). In departure from the standard ap- proach, the relevant questions did not ask respondents to rate their attractiveness directly, but instead asked about experiences that indicate how other people respond to their physical appearance: (1) “people often say that I'm good-looking”; (2) “when I'm out and about people ‘check-me out’ or admire my looks”; (3) “I get the sense plenty of people would like to ask me out for a date”; and (4) “sometimes I feel that people resent me for my good looks.” The response categories ranged from 1 = strongly disagree to 4 = strongly agree.
Although these assessments are subjective, the assumption was that the social-interactionist nature of these questions avoids some the pit- falls of the more direct approaches. To identify the individuals representing the high end of the attractiveness continuum, the SRPA scale was dichotomized such that those scoring 10 or higher (out of the maximum score of 12) were grouped into the “very attractive” category, which represents (approximately) the 95th percentile of the SRPA scale.
6.3. Routine activities
The measure of routine activities is based on two types of questions. The first one is a general question about time spent in potentially risky settings. Respondents were asked: “How often do you spend your leisure time in public settings, such as on the street, square, park, café, around a train station, or some equivalent public place?” Response options included: never (=0); once a week or less (=1); two to three days a week (=2); four to six days a week (=3); and every day, also during the weekend (=4).
The second set of questions indicates the timing of such activities. Respondents were asked how frequently they spent time in such set- tings at each of the following times of day: (1) before 6 pm; (2) between 6 and 8 pm; (3) between 8 and 10 pm; (4) between 10 pm and midnight, and (5) after midnight. For each time-specific question, respondents could answer on a scale ranging from 0 (=never) to 4 (=often).
Using this information, we created an Index of Risky Time Use, which takes into account the frequency of time spent in public places weighted by the late timing of those activities. Specifically, the index was constructed by multiplying response to the initial question focused on the overall amount of time spent in public places by a composite variable indicating the timing of these activities. The timing variable was computed by calculating the average of the three items indicating how fre- quently respondents spend time in public after 8 pm. The values of this variable range from 0 (=never) to 4 (=often). The values of the Index of Risky Time Use range from 0 (=never spends time in public, day or night) to 16 (=spends time in public every day, and often late at night).
Robbery and assault happened to them more because they are more likely to go out to public places including at night. They have more friends, more romantic partners and are more likely to go to house parties. However, this covariate had nothing to do with why they are more likely to engage in sexual contact with someone at least 5 year olders as a teen:
"Drawing on the concept of target congruence, we hypothesized that highly attractive teens are at increased risk of sexual violence due to target gratifiability and vulnerability. Consistent with this expectation, we observed that sexual victimization (CSA) risks are nearly three times as great for high SRPA youth compared to others even after controlling for participation in risky routines and other covariates. We also pre- dicted and found evidence for a direct effect between high physical attractiveness and non-sexual violent victimization (assault and robbery). Consistent with our theoretical model, we did not observe direct associations between physical attractiveness and non-violent forms of victimization (theft and vandalism)."
"The magnitudes of associations between SRPA and non-sexual violent victimization are attenuated somewhat after in- troducing covariates. In this model, youth with high SRPA scores are estimated to be about twice as likely to experience robbery (OR = e^0.831 = 2.30, p < .01) and about 1.7 times as likely to ex- perience assault (OR = e^0.519 = 1.68, p < .01). The association between SRPA and Risky Time Use is also somewhat attenuated, as high SRPA youth are predicted to have Risky Time Use scores that are about 0.59 standard deviation units higher than other youth. In contrast, net of controls, high SRPA youth are about four times as likely to experience sexual victimization (OR = e^1.40 = 4.06, p < .001) compared to other youth. Further, as in the bivariate model, the covariate-adjusted results suggest youth with high SRPA scores are about as likely as other youth to experience property victimization (theft: OR = e^- 0.138 = 0.871, p > .05; vandalism: OR = e^0.072 = 1.08, p > .05)."
Chad and stacy (physically attractive) teens are more likely to be robbed/assaulted because of the fact that they go out to public places and go out at night and party and go to public places more often and are more likely to experience sexual contact with someone at least 5 years older as a teen even when controlling for how often they go out, what time they go out, etc. This means their attractiveness could play a role in being involved in sexual contact (forcible or non-forcible) as a teen with someone at least 5 years older.