Portrait of Dr Afroditi Pina

Dr Afroditi Pina

Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology
Chair of the University Harassment Contact Network
Staff Equality Representative
Student Experience (UG)
Student Experience Academic Lead (PGR & PGT)


Afroditi is a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology, Chair of the University Harassment Contact Network and Staff Equality Representative in the School of Psychology.

Research interests

Afroditi conducts research in forensic and social psychology that fits within the areas of sexual violence, gender equality and victimisation. She is interested in examining the psychological explanations for people’s attitudes and behaviours that pertain to the topics outlined below:

  • Online and offline harassment and sexual harassment, rape, pornography
    Afroditi has conducted work on sexual harassment victims, coping strategies adopted by these victims, emotional impact of harassment as well as perpetration of harassing behaviours.
    She has also published work on rape myth acceptance, negative emotions (anger, fear and sadness), management of sex offenders in the community and access and exposure to pornography. 
    She is currently conducting research on revenge porn as well as cyber-harassment behaviours.
  • Sexual and self-objectification
    She has published work on self-objectification and its effects on intentions to pursue cosmetic surgery as well as the effects of sexual objectification on rape victim blaming and perceived suffering of rape victims.


SP805 Psychology of Criminal Conduct


Current research students

1st supervisor

2nd supervisor

  • Ariel Petrakovich (Private funding): TBA
  • Anita Ruddle (School of Psychology Graduate Teaching Assistantship): The development and validation of a domestic violence proclivity scale

Recent research students

  • Dr Kayleigh Parratt (2020): Rape myths, and victim and perpetrator empathy: An analysis of situational, personal and professional characteristics on perceptions of rape within the Police Service  
  • Dr Phoebe Smith (2020): Creatively exploring the implicit component of implicit theories
  • Dr Arielle Sagrillo Scarpati (2018) (CAPES Foundation): The role of culture and morality on men’s acceptance of sexual aggression myths and perpetration of rape in Brazil and the United Kingdom
  • Dr Tom Page (2015): Sexual harassment: Investigating the role of social-cognitive mechanisms and group-based emotions


Grants and Awards

2014Cameron, L., Pina, A., Calogero, R. & Sutton, R.
Children's experiences of gender: Literature review and scoping study for the Office of the Children's Commissioner (May-July 2014).
2014Pina, A.
"Watching me watching you" The development of a cyber-harassment proclivity scale.
University of Kent Social Sciences Faculty Small Grants Scheme (May 2014-May 2015)
2014Pina, A. 
Interdisciplinary Workshop on Internet Safety and Cyber-Harasssment Research.
School of Psychology Seed Fund (April 2014-April 2015)
2013Horvath, M., Alys, L., Massey, K., Pina, A., Scally, M. & Adler, J., 
A Rapid Evidence Assessment on the Effect that Access and Exposure
to Pornography has on Children and Young People. Office for the Children's Commissioner 
OCC Inquiry into child sexual exploitation in gangs and groups (CSEGG)
2012Pina, A.
Front-line care workers’ experiences of sexual harassment in secure units and 
mental health hospitals in the South East of England. 
University of Kent Social Sciences Faculty Small Grants Scheme
2010-12Gannon, T.A., Wood, J.L., Pina, A., & Vasquez, E.
Ministry of Justice
Evaluation of the Mandatory Polygraph Pilot

Professional memberships


Showing 50 of 93 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • Rudnev, M., Vauclair, C., Aminihadjibashi, S., Becker, M., Bilewicz, M., Castellanos-Guevara, J., Collier-Baker, E., Crespo, C., Eastwick, P., Fischer, R., Friese, M., Gomez, A., Guerra, V., Hanke, K., Hooper, N., Huang, L., Karasawa, M., Kuppens, P., Loughnan, S., Peker, M., Pelay, C., Pina, A., Sachkova, M., Saguy, T., Shi, J., Silvfer-Kuhalampi, M., Sortheix, F., Swann, W., Tong, J., Yeung, V., & Bastian, B. (2020). Measurement invariance of the moral vitalism scale across 28 cultural groups. PLoS ONE. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0233989
    Moral vitalism refers to a tendency to view good and evil as actual forces that can influence people and events. The Moral Vitalism Scale had been designed to assess moral vitalism in a brief survey form. Previous studies established the reliability and validity of the scale in US-American and Australian samples. In this study, the cross-cultural comparability of the scale was tested across 28 different cultural groups worldwide through measurement invariance tests. A series of exact invariance tests marginally supported partial metric invariance, however, an approximate invariance approach provided evidence of partial scalar invariance for a 5-item measure. The established level of measurement invariance allows for comparisons of latent means across cultures. We conclude that the brief measure of moral vitalism is invariant across 28 cultures and can be used to estimate levels of moral vitalism with the same precision across very different cultural settings.
  • Bastian, B., Vauclair, C., Loughnan, S., Bain, P., Ashokkumar, A., Becker, M., Bilewicz, M., Collier-Baker, E., Crespo, C., Eastwick, P., Fischer, R., Frieze, M., Gomez, A., Guerra, V., Guevara, J., Hanke, K., Hooper, N., Huang, L., Junqi, S., Karasawa, M., Kuppens, P., Leknes, S., Peker, M., Pelay, C., Pina, A., Sachkova, M., Saguy, T., Silfver-Kuhalampi, M., Sortheix, F., Tong, J., Yeung, V., Duffy, J., & Swann Jr., W. (2019). Explaining illness with evil: pathogen prevalence fosters moral vitalism. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 201915. doi:10.1098/rspb.2019.1576
    Pathogens represent a significant threat to human health leading to the emergence of strategies designed to help manage their negative impact. We examined how spiritual beliefs developed to explain and predict the devastating effects of pathogens and spread of infectious disease. Analysis of existing data in studies 1 and 2 suggests that moral vitalism (beliefs about spiritual forces of evil) is higher in geographical regions characterized by historical higher levels of pathogens. Furthermore, drawing on a sample of 3140 participants from 28 countries in study 3, we found that historical higher levels of pathogens were associated with stronger endorsement of moral vitalis- tic beliefs. Furthermore, endorsement of moral vitalistic beliefs statistically mediated the previously reported relationship between pathogen prevalence and conser- vative ideologies, suggesting these beliefs reinforce behavioural strategies which function to prevent infection. We conclude that moral vitalism may be adaptive: by emphasizing concerns over contagion, it provided an explanatory model that enabled human groups to reduce rates of contagious disease.
  • Sainz, M., Loughnan, S., Eyssel, F., & Pina, A. (2019). We share the euro, but not our humanity: Humanity attributions are associated with the perceived causes, consequences, and solution to the Greek financial crisis. The Social Science Journal. doi:10.1016/j.soscij.2019.03.007
    Political and financial crises are complex and multi-determined situations whose solutions dependonmultiple factors. Tounderstandthese conflicts, we explore to what extentmutual
    outgroup dehumanization along with ingroup humanization between the parts involved in the conflict predict the interpretation of the different facets of the political situation (i.e.
    interpretation of the crisis, the perceived consequences, or the possible solutions). In this article, we focused on the dispute between Germany and Greece catalyzed by a Greek referendum in 2015. We assessed to what extent mutual (de)humanization between Germans and Greeks predicted the interpretation of the conflict. Our results showed a mutual dehumanization: Greeks mechanizing Germans and Germans animalizing Greeks. For Germans, dehumanizing the Greeks was linked to worse perceived Greek financial administration and minimizing the perception of the Greeks’ suffering, whereas humanizing the ingroup was associated with more outgroup responsibility. For Greeks, dehumanizing the Germans was associated with a desire to avoid German financial control, whereas ingroup humanization was associated with better financial administration, less responsibility, and a higher perception of suffering among Greeks. In short, dehumanizing the other members of the European Union (EU) while humanizing their own nationality contributed to the neglect of the problems inside the EU, shaping the understanding of the economic conflict among both nations.
  • Page, T., & Pina, A. (2018). Moral disengagement and self-reported harassment proclivity in men: the mediating effects of moral judgment and emotions. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 24, 157-180. doi:10.1080/13552600.2018.1440089
    Three online studies investigated the association between moral disengagement and men’s self-reported harassment proclivity. Participants (total N = 336) were required to read a vignette depicting either quid pro quo harassment (studies 1 and 2) or hostile work environment harassment (study 3). A salience manipulation was used in each study to explore the causal directionality of this association. The mediating effects of moral judgment, negative affect (guilt and shame) and positive affect (happiness) about the harassment were also assessed as participants were asked to imagine themselves as the harassment perpetrator. Across the three studies, it was shown that moral disengagement had an indirect effect in predicting men’s proclivity to harass by lowering their moral judgment and negative affect about the harassment, conversely amplifying positive affect. Overall, the findings support social cognitive theory, indicating that moral disengagement may enable people to self-regulate their own behavioural inclinations to harass.
  • Scarpati, A., & Pina, A. (2017). Cultural and moral dimensions of sexual aggression : The role of moral disengagement in men’s likelihood to sexually aggress. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 37, 115-121. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2017.09.001
    Social norms inform individuals in a given society about what is right and wrong, and it is through their environment (and its symbolic elements) that people learn how to behave morally. These norms help shape not only people's behaviors, but also the way in which society in general, works: they are not, however, sufficient to compel all individuals to refrain from detrimental conduct. In fact, according to Paciello (2008), in some cases, these same norms may serve to legitimize harmful behavior towards others. In societies plagued by gender inequality, for example, some forms of violence (e.g. marital rape, domestic violence, homophobia) might be tolerated and/or justified as a result of individuals' adherence to traditional gender norms. As a result, detrimental behavior becomes socially and morally acceptable, and any conflicting moral beliefs and behaviors are experienced largely without self-reproach. Drawing from that, the primary goal of this narrative review is to explore the idea that some social norms may influence the acceptability of perpetration of sexual violence. Building on the findings from our review, we address existing gaps in the literature, and present a different approach to individuals' likelihood to engage in sexually aggressive behavior, via consideration of moral values and moral disengagement strategies.
  • Scarpati, A., & Pina, A. (2017). On national and cultural boundaries: A cross-cultural approach to sexual violence perpetration in Brazil and the United Kingdom. Journal of Sexual Aggression. doi:10.1080/13552600.2017.1351265
    The majority of research on rape has so far neglected to examine the effects of socio-cultural beliefs and practices on sexual violence perpetration, with most authors dedicating themselves, instead, to an individualistic approach of this phenomenon. Although these approaches are certainly valid, they often ignore how these behaviours are embedded in the culture and, as a result, do not adequately explore the causes and consequences of sexual violence perpetration. Therefore, the primary goal of this review is to redress this deficiency, focusing on the connection between the phenomenon and the cultural backdrop against which it occurs. Hence, a discussion around certain factors that may serve to either legitimize or to condemn sexual violence in two different countries (Brazil and UK) is necessary. To make this possible, differences regarding each country’s culture, rape legislation and prevalence are presented, and issues regarding the current individualistic theoretical approach to the subject are explored.
  • Vasquez, E., Ball, L., Loughnan, S., & Pina, A. (2017). The Object of My Aggression: Sexual Objectification Increases Physical Aggression Towards Women. Aggressive Behavior, 44, 5-17. doi:10.1002/ab.21719
    Objectification involves reducing someone to a sexual object, rather than seeing themas a full person. Despite numerous theoretical claims that people are more aggressivetoward the objectified, and empirical evidence that objectification is linked to highwillingness to aggress, rape proclivity, and aggressive attitudes, no research hasexamined a causal link between objectification and physical aggression, particularly inthe context of provocation. In two experiments, we examined this predicted link. InExperiment 1, using a 2 (objectification: no/yes) × 2 (provocation: no/yes) factorialbetween-subjects design, we investigated the effects of objectification, induced viabody focus during a face-to-face interaction, and provocation on physical aggressiontoward a female confederate. Our results revealed a significant main effect ofprovocation, a marginal main effect of objectification, and a significant interactionbetween these variables. In the absence of a provocation, focusing on a woman’s bodyincreased aggression toward her. Experiment 2 replicated Experiment 1 using a videoof a target woman instead of a face-to-face interaction. Again, our results showed asignificant two-way interaction between objectification and provocation, whereinobjectification increased aggression in the absence of provocation. Overall, thisresearch indicates that objectification can lead to heightened physical aggressiontoward objectified women.
  • Parratt, K., & Pina, A. (2017). From "real rape" to real justice: A systematic review of police officers’ rape myth beliefs. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 34, 68-83. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2017.03.005
    This systematic review examined 18 documents that contained information about rape
    myths/cognitions of police officers with the goal of identifying the factors that influence
    police officers’ beliefs of rape. Past research on sexual offence processing decisions has
    rarely considered the characteristics of police officers as active participants in the legal
    decision making process (Alderden & Ullman, 2012); meaning that the factors that directly
    influence police officers’ rape myths and the implications these may have on rape victims’
    experiences when reporting to the police remain unclear. The current review systematically
    examines the literature on police officers’ rape myth beliefs, and evaluates the current
    available research regarding, decision-making, victim credibility, police training and
    experiences, and police gender. It concludes by providing recommendations for policy
    makers in terms of best practice, continual police training and development and improving
    rape victims’ reporting experiences.
  • Pina, A., Holland, J., & James, M. (2017). The Malevolent Side of Revenge Porn Proclivity: Dark Personality Traits and Sexist Ideology. International Journal of Technoethics, 8. doi:10.4018/IJT.2017010103
    This paper presents a novel study, exploring a form of technology facilitated sexual violence (TFSV) known as revenge porn. Despite its emerging prevalence, little is known about the characteristics of revenge porn perpetrators. In the current study, a revenge porn proclivity scale was devised to examine participants' behavioural propensity to engage in revenge porn. One hundred adults, aged 18-54, were recruited online from a community sample. The correlational relationship between revenge porn proclivity and the self-reported endorsement of the Dark Triad, sadism, and ambivalent sexism was examined. Additional proclivity subscales of revenge porn enjoyment and revenge porn approval were also created. The study's main findings revealed a positive correlation between a greater behavioural propensity to engage in revenge porn and higher levels of the Dark Triad and ambivalent sexism. Moreover, endorsement of psychopathy was found to be the only Dark Triad trait that independently predicted revenge porn proclivity. The results suggest that perpetrators of revenge porn may have distinct personality profiles. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
  • Ruddle, A., Pina, A., & Vasquez, E. (2017). Domestic violence offending behaviors: A review of the literature examining childhood exposure, implicit theories, trait aggression and anger rumination as predictive factors. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 34, 154-165. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2017.01.016
    The prevalence of domestic violence (DV) is an increasing public health concern globally. This paper outlines the current literature on what is known about DV proclivity, with particular attention to predictors for DV perpetration from childhood. We begin by reviewing key methodological issues that are inherent within DV literature and hinder the development of interventions and treatments for DV offenders. The main body of this article provides an overview of four main predictive components for DV perpetration: (1) developmental risk factors for DV offending (e.g. childhood exposure to DV); (2) specific implicit theories related to sexual, violent and DV offenders; (3) the role of anger rumination as a psychological process of DV offending; and (4) an exploration of the role of trait aggression in increasing DV Proclivity. Finally, it was concluded that there is a need for the development of a psychometric measure to encompass these four key predictors of DV Proclivity and future offending.
  • Vasquez, E., Osinnowo, K., Pina, A., Ball, L., & Bell, C. (2016). The sexual objectification of girls and aggression towards them in gang and non-gang affiliated youth. Psychology, Crime, and Law, 23, 459-471. doi:10.1080/1068316X.2016.1269902
    Sexual objectification is related to various negative attitudes and outcomes, including rape proclivity and reduced moral concern for the objectified, which suggests that objectification has implications for aggression. Our study examined the relationship between objectification and general aggressive behaviour in adolescents, including gang-affiliated youth. We hypothesized that 1) objectification would correlate with aggression towards girls, 2) gang affiliation would correlate with objectification and aggression towards girls, and 3) objectification and gang affiliation would interact such that strongly affiliated participants who objectified girls would be most aggressive towards them. We also hypothesized that sexual objectification would be a significant predictor of aggression above and beyond other factors, such as trait aggression. As predicted, objectification correlated with aggression towards girls and with gang affiliation, which also correlated with aggression. In addition, objectification predicted aggression towards girls, after controlling for other relevant factors. Further, we found an objectification x gang affiliation interaction, which differed from our original predictions. Among participants low in gang affiliation, objectification of girls predicted levels of aggression towards them. Among those high in gang affiliation, however, objectification did not predict aggression. We discussed the implications of our findings for general aggression.
  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2015). “It Was Only Harmless Banter!” The development and preliminary validation of the moral disengagement in sexual harassment scale. Aggressive Behavior, 1-48. doi:10.1002/ab.21621
    Sexual harassment represents aggressive behavior that is often enacted instrumentally, in response to a threatened sense of masculinity and male identity. To date, however, theoretical attention to the social cognitive processes that regulate workplace harassment is scant. This article presents the development and preliminary validation of the Moral Disengagement in Sexual Harassment Scale (MDiSH); a self-report measure of moral disengagement in the context of hostile work environment harassment. Three studies (total N = 797) document the excellent psychometric properties of this new scale. Male U.K. university students (Study 1: N = 322) and U.S. working males (Studies 2 and 3: N = 475) completed the MDiSH and an array of measures for construct validation. The MDiSH exhibited positive correlations with sexual harassment myth acceptance, male gender identification, and hostile sexism. In Study 3, participants were exposed to a fictitious case of hostile work environment harassment. The MDiSH attenuated moral judgment, negative emotions (guilt, shame, and anger), sympathy, and endorsement of prosocial behavioral intentions (support for restitution) associated with the harassment case. Conversely, the MDiSH increased positive affect (happiness) about the harassment and attribution of blame to the female complainant. Implications for practice and future research avenues are discussed.
  • Thomae, M., & Pina, A. (2015). Sexist humour and social identity: The role of sexist humour in men’s ingroup cohesion, sexual harassment, rape proclivity and victim blame. Humor, 28. doi:10.1515/humor-2015-0023
    Jokes have been recognised as ways in which negative attitudes and prejudice can be communicated and enacted in hidden ways (e.g., Allport 1954; Freud 2004 [1905]). In this paper, we review the existing literature on the functions and effects of sexist humour, using Martineau’s (1972) model on the social functions of humour as well as Tajfel and Turner’s (2004 [1986]) Social Identity Theory (SIT) and Turner et al.’s (1987) Self Categorisation Theory. Within these frameworks, we particularly focus on sex as an intergroup context and on the way sexist humour functions to a) enhance male ingroup cohesion (sexist humour as a predictor) b) serves as a form of sexual harassment (sexist humour as an outcome) and c) amplifies self-reported rape proclivity and victim blame (sexist humour as a moderator). The paper concludes by highlighting gaps in the existing literature and providing directions for future research.
  • Page, T., & Pina, A. (2015). Moral disengagement as a self-regulatory process in sexual harassment perpetration at work: A preliminary conceptualisation. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 21, 73-84. doi:doi:10.1016/j.avb.2015.01.004
  • Herrera, A., Pina, A., Herrera, M., & Exposito, F. (2014). Mito o realidad? Influencia de la ideologia en la percepcion social del acoso sexual. Anuario De Psicologia Juridica, 24, 1-7. doi:10.1016/j.apj.2014.07.002
    El acoso sexual se ha convertido en un problema de gran importancia en la actualidad social, que sin embargo está invisibilizado. El objeto de este trabajo se centró en indagar posibles factores que influyen en la percepción social del acoso. En un primer estudio, 177 participantes leyeron un escenario de acoso sexual donde un jefe acosa a una trabajadora. Posteriormente contestaban las medidas de interés. En un segundo estudio 65 participantes leyeron un escenario, donde un profesor acosa sexualmente a una estudiante, y después contestaban las medidas de interés. Los principales resultados mostraron que los participantes que toleraban más el acoso, poseían más mitos hacia el acoso sexual y actitudes sexistas, atribuían una mayor culpabilidad a la víctima y percibían la conducta como menos acosadora. Estudios como este podrían ayudar a crear una mayor conciencia social acerca del acoso sexual, con el objetivo de poder detectar e intervenir sobre tales situaciones.
  • Calogero, R., Pina, A., & Sutton, R. (2014). Cutting words: Priming self-objectification increases the intention to pursue cosmetic surgery. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 38, 197-207. doi:10.1177/0361684313506881
    We examined whether subtle exposure to sexually objectifying cues increases women’s intentions to have cosmetic surgery. Undergraduate women (N = 116) were randomly assigned to a condition in which they unscrambled sentences containing words associated with sexual objectification, non-self-objectifying physicality, or neutral content. Following a manipulation check of these primes, participants reported their body shame and intentions to have cosmetic surgery in the future. Results revealed that priming a state of self-objectification, compared to the two non-self-objectifying conditions, increased both body shame and intentions to have cosmetic surgery. In a mediational model, the link between self-objectification and intentions to have cosmetic surgery was partially mediated by body shame. Controlling for other key intrapersonal and social motives linked to interest in cosmetic surgery did not alter these patterns. These findings highlight the potential for the consumption of cosmetic surgery to stand as another harmful micro-level consequence of self-objectification that may be perpetuated via subtle exposure to sexually objectifying words, even in the absence of visual depictions or more explicit encounters of sexual objectification.
  • Gannon, T., Wood, J., Pina, A., Tyler, N., Barnoux, M., & Vasquez, E. (2014). An Evaluation of Mandatory Polygraph Testing for Sexual Offenders in the United Kingdom. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 26, 178-203. doi:10.1177/1079063213486836
    Objective: This research examined whether a government-initiated pilot project of mandatory polygraph testing would increase the disclosures made by community-supervised sexual offenders in the UK. Method: The Offender Managers of 332 pilot polygraph sexual offenders and 303 sexual offenders who were receiving usual community supervision were telephoned quarterly, over a 21 month period, to collect information about numbers of clinically relevant disclosures, the seriousness of disclosures made, and actions taken as a result of disclosures. Perceptions of polygraph usefulness were also collected. Results: Offender Managers in the pilot polygraph group—compared to comparison Offender Managers—reported (1) a higher proportion of offenders making at least one disclosure (i.e., 76.5% versus 51.2% respectively), and (2) that their offenders made more total disclosures overall (Ms = 2.60 versus 1.25 respectively). The majority of disclosures made by sexual offenders in the polygraph group were associated with the polygraph session itself. Polygraph Offender Managers reported being more likely to take an action that involved increasing supervision, informing a third party, informing MAPPA, changing supervision focus, or issuing a warning to the offender. However, the relative seriousness of disclosures did not appear to differ across groups. In terms of polygraph test results, one third of offenders (most notably those who were higher in risk) failed their first test with ‘Deception Indicated’. This outcome—received on a first test—was most likely to elicit clinically relevant disclosures. Offender Managers described the polygraph as aiding supervision strategies. Conclusions: This research and its associated caveats are discussed.
  • Loughnan, S., Pina, A., Vasquez, E., & Puvia, E. (2013). Sexual Objectification Increases Rape Victim Blame and Decreases Perceived Suffering. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 37, 455-461. doi:10.1177/0361684313485718
    Sexual objectification changes the way people view women by reducing them to sexual objects—denied humanity and an internal mental life, as well as deemed unworthy of moral concern. However, the subsequent consequences of sexually objectifying others remain underresearched. In the current study, we examined the impact of objectification in the domain of sexual assault. Sixty British undergraduate students were recruited to complete an impression formation task. We manipulated objectification by presenting participants with either a sexualized or nonsexualized woman. Participants rated the woman’s mind and the extent to which they felt moral concern for her. They then learned that she was the victim of an acquaintance rape and reported victim blame and both blatant and subtle perceptions of her suffering. Consistent with prior research, sexualized women were objectified through a denial of mental states and moral concern. Further, compared with nonobjectified women, the objectified were perceived to be more responsible for being raped. Interestingly, although no difference emerged for blatant measures of suffering, participants tacitly denied the victims’ suffering by exhibiting changes in moral concern for the victim. We conclude that objectification has important consequences for how people view victims of sexual assault. Our findings reveal that sexual objectification can have serious consequences and we discuss how these might influence how victims cope and recover from sexual assault.
  • Whitby, K., & Pina, A. (2013). Investigating rape victim and perpetrator empathy in relation to rape myths within the police service. Forensic Update, 24-26.
  • Fisher, N., & Pina, A. (2013). An overview of the literature on female-perpetrated adult male sexual victimization. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 18, 54-61. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2012.10.001
    The rape of women has been an issue of concern in research literature for the past 40 years. Conversely, rape against men has only relatively recently received investigation. The current paper reviews the existing research literature regarding male rape and sexual assault, with particular emphasis on female perpetrated male sexual victimization. The review covers issues regarding biased legal definitions, rape myths, feminist theory, and stereotypical or negative beliefs all of which create a problematic social environment for male victims of female perpetrated assault to report crimes. The review also discusses the prevalence of female perpetrated attacks against men, with evidence from self-reports by female sex offenders to highlight the existence of male sexual victimization and the aggressive manner in which the sexual activity is committed. The review concludes that male sexual victimization by women should be taken as seriously as that of women by men.

Conference or workshop item

  • Ruddle, A., Vasquez, E., & Pina, A. (2015). Angry thoughts could make you violent: The role of anger rumination as a predictor for domestic violence proclivity. In British Psychological Society, Division of Forensic Psychology Annual Conference. Manchester, UK.
  • Vasquez, E., Osinnowo, K., Bell, C., Loughnan, S., & Pina, A. (2015). The role of objectification of women in aggression towards them. In . Rovereto, Italy.
  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2014). "It was only harmless banter!" The role of in-group identification and moral disengagement on males’ justifications for sexual harassment.". In XIX. Workshop Aggression. Technische Universität Berlin.
  • Pina, A. (2014). “Basically.porn is everywhere”: findings from a literature review on young people and their access and exposure to pornography. Keynote Speech for the NOTA Annual Conference, York 2014. In NOTA Annual Conference 2014, York University.
  • Pina, A. (2014). The Porn Effect: How current findings can help inform dialogue with young people on the effects of pornography access and exposure on their lives. Keynote Workshop, NOTA 2014 Annual Conference, York. In .
  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2014). "It was only harmless banter!" The neutralising role of moral disengagement on males’ justifications for sexual harassment. In Annual Conference of Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group (PSYPAG). Cardiff, UK.
  • Pina, A., & Sharma-Sacristan, J. (2014). The role of emotions and harasser-victim relationship in perceptions of online sexual harassment. In European Association of Social Psychology General Meeting. Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2014). Justifying sexual harassment through moral disengagement: The role of in-group identification. In European Association of Psychology and Law (EAPL) Annual Conference. St Petersburg State University, Russia.
  • Pina, A., & Olukanmi, R. (2014). Being pursued online: Does facebook stalking predict attitudes towards online victimisation?. In 23rd Division of Forensic Psychology Conference. Glasgow, UK.
  • Alys, L., Horvath, M., Massey, K., Pina, A., Scally, M., & Adler, J. (2013). "Indecent exposure": Children and young people’s access and exposure to pornography. In .
  • Massey, K., Horvath, M., Alys, L., Pina, A., Scally, M., & Adler, J. (2013). Video nasties: The effects of sexualized and violent imagery on children and young people. In .
  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013). Sexual harassment as interpersonal aggression: Exploring the role of moral disengagement. In XVIII. Workshop Aggression. Bielefeld, Germany.
  • Pina, A., Horvath, M., Alys, L., Massey, K., Scally, M., & Adler, J. (2013). The effects of access and exposure to pornography on young people’s attitudes and sexual beliefs. In XVIII. Workshop Aggression. Bielefeld, Germany.
  • Pina, A. (2013). Sexual Misconduct or Sexual Violence? Conducting research from a forensic/social psychological perspective: Invited Research Talk. In Invited Research Talk. Canterbury Christ Church University.
  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013). Do perpetrators of sexual harassment use mechanisms of moral disengagement? Preliminary conceptualization and measurement. In European Association of Psychology and Law (EAPL) Annual Conference. Coventry, UK.
  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013). Do perpetrators of sexual harassment use mechanisms of moral disengagement? Preliminary conceptualization and measurement. In 22nd Division of Forensic Psychology (DFP) Annual Conference. Queen’s University, Belfast.
  • Pina, A. (2013). Sexual harassment and its effect on dimensions of self objectification. In Division of Forensic Psychology BPS Conference. Queen’s University, Belfast.
  • Studying forensic psychology, applications, research and career paths. (2013). In Invited Lecture. Queen Mary University London.
  • Pina, A., & Japp, K. (2013). The effects of sexual harassment on self-esteem, body shame and body surveillance. In SPSP Annual Conference. New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Calogero, R., & Pina, A. (2013). Safety tips: The paradoxical link between sexual objectification and women’s rape myth acceptance. In Symposium: Sexualization of Girls and Women: Surprising and Counter Intuitive Consequences. In American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Division 35 Program. Houston, Texas, USA.
  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013). The role of moral disengagement in social-sexual misconduct: Preliminary conceptualization and measurement. In 28th Annual Conference of Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group (PsyPAG). Lancaster University.

Internet publication

  • Pina, A. (2017). How to recognise and start tackling sexual harassment in the workplace. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/how-to-recognise-and-start-tackling-sexual-harassment-in-the-workplace-86235
    Article published in the Conversation and BBC Capital discussing sexual harassment in the workplace, the #MeToo campaign, and ways to tackle the phenomenon.
  • Pina, A. (2013). The Porn Effect: A psychologist’s perspective by Dr Afroditi Pina. Retrieved from http://stayingalivefoundation.org/blog/2013/10/the-porn-effect-a-psychologists-perspective/


  • Littleton, H., Abrahams, N., Bergman, M., Berliner, L., Blaustein, M., Cohen, J., Dworkin, E., Krahe, B., Pereda, N., Peterson, Z., Pina, A., Rizvi, S., Weaver, R., Ybarra, M., & Zinzow, H. (2018). Sexual assault, sexual abuse, and harassment: Understanding the mental health impact and providing care for survivors: An International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Briefing Paper. International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Retrieved from https://www.istss.org/getattachment/Education-Research/Sexual-Assault-and-Harassment/ISTSS_Sexual-Assault-Briefing-Paper_FNL.pdf.aspx
    Recent events including revelations of the systematic cover-up of widespread childhood sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, sexual assault and harassment accusations involving many prominent individuals in the entertainment and other industries in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan, global coverage of cases of violent rape and rape-murder of girls and young women in India, and the #metoo movement, have served to increase public consciousness internationally regarding the pervasiveness of various forms of sexual victimization worldwide. In response, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) commissioned this briefing paper to inform its membership, policymakers, and global stakeholders about the prevalence, impact, and barriers faced by survivors of various forms
    of sexual victimization including attempted and completed rape, sexual abuse in childhood, and sexual harassment in workplace and educational settings. This paper outlines the research evidence regarding (1) the prevalence of different forms of
    sexual victimization worldwide including childhood sexual abuse, various forms of sexual assault in adulthood, and sexual harassment in workplace and educational settings, (2) the prevalence of various forms of sexual victimization among several marginalized groups, (3) the psychological, behavioral, and physical health impacts of sexual victimization in childhood and adulthood, (4) evidence-based interventions for survivors of sexual victimization, and (5) barriers to treatment seeking commonly faced by survivors of different forms of sexual victimization. Recommendations are also made in the areas of policy, practice, research, and for professional organizations.
    Research conducted throughout the world continues to document the alarmingly high prevalence of various forms of sexual victimization throughout the lifespan, including the sexual abuse of children, sexual assault of adults, and sexual harassment within individuals’ place of employment and in educational settings. Although all individuals are vulnerable to experiences of sexual victimization, sexual assault, abuse, and harassment are gendered crimes, such that women and girls are more likely to
    be victims of these forms of sexual violence. In addition, members of a number of marginalized groups face substantially increased vulnerability to sexual victimization. These include individuals with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, homeless individuals, individuals engaging in various kinds of sex work, and members of indigenous populations. Further, the impact of sexual victimization is both broad and targeted, with various forms of sexual victimization, including experiences of childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault in adulthood, associated with a host of negative outcomes including the development of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, eating disordered pathology, suicidality, dissociation, and high risk sexual behaviors. Further, sexual victimization is associated with risk
    for a number of negative physical health outcomes including obesity, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic pelvic pain, and reproductive health issues.
    There exists a robust evidence base supporting the efficacy of psychological treatment for PTSD symptomology among adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault. Of extant treatments, cognitive-behavioral based treatments
    have the strongest evidence for their efficacy. Similarly, cognitive-behavioral treatments, such as trauma-focused CBT, have demonstrated efficacy in treating
    PTSD and depressive symptomology among children and adolescents who have experienced sexual abuse. There is also some evidence supporting the efficacy of psychopharmacological treatment in reducing PTSD symptomology among adult survivors of sexual abuse or assault. Conversely, there is far more limited research examining the efficacy of psychological treatments for PTSD in other cultural contexts, with the vast majority of research involving United States samples. There is also
    much less evidence regarding the impact of trauma-focused treatments on other outcomes besides PTSD symptomology and depression, or examining how to treat additional behavioral and mental health issues among survivors of sexual victimization. Finally, almost no research has evaluated the efficacy of psychological treatments for individuals who have experienced sexual harassment in their workplace.
    Further, research documents that survivors of various forms of sexual victimization often face substantial barriers to disclosing their experience or seeking formal help. These barriers include issues related to defining the experience as a victimization, concerns about not being believed or taken seriously, and feelings of stigma, shame, or embarrassment. Other barriers include concerns about whether the experience
    will be reported to authorities, mistrust of formal support systems, and prior negative experiences following disclosure of a sexual victimization experience. Many survivors also may be unaware of services that are available to them, may believe that available services are not appropriate for them, and may also face substantial barriers to accessing the care that is available, and available care may be inadequate for addressing their needs in many parts of the world. Finally, it is important to note that many individuals who experience sexual victimization face ongoing issues related to poverty, socioeconomic disadvantage, ongoing personal and community violence, and belong to marginalized groups.
    Given the prevalence, impact, and substantial barriers to care faced by individuals who experience sexual victimization, including childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, it is clear that concerted, international, and collaborative efforts involving policymakers, researchers, clinicians, professional organizations, and other global stakeholders is imperative.

Research report (external)

  • Cameron, L., Pina, A., Calogero, R., & Sutton, R. (2015). Through their eyes and in their voices: The impact of gender on the lives of young people in England. Scoping review and considerations for future research. Report for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, England. Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC).
  • Horvath, M., Alys, L., Massey, K., Pina, A., Scally, M., & Adler, J. (2013). "Basically.porn is everywhere". A Rapid Evidence Assessment on the Effects that Access and Exposure to Pornography has on Children and Young People. Office of the Children’s Commissioner. Retrieved from http://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/content/publications/content_667


  • Smith, P. (2018). Creatively Exploring the Implicit Component of Sexual Offenders’ Implicit Theories.
    By reappraising the shared association between the Implicit Theories theory (Ward, 2000; Ward & Keenan, 1999) and Attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969/1982, 1973, 1980), the objective of this thesis was to create a novel paradigm utilizing methodology (i.e., drawing and visualization tasks), from the domain of art therapy, to investigate the implicit cognitive components implicated in both a Dangerous World and Uncontrollability IT. Studies 1, 2 and 3 represented the first two pilot studies and preliminary study, respectively, that were conducted in order to investigate whether the measurements we wished to use in the main empirical studies, were appropriate measurements or required adjustment. Study 4 examined the investigative ability of this novel paradigm for a Dangerous World IT, using the measurements created in Studies 1, 2 and 3. In Studies 5 and 6 we explored if making changes to the methodology used in Study 4, would impact meaningfully upon findings. Building upon the results from Studies, 4, 5 and 6, Studies 7, 8 and 9, explored whether an Uncontrollability IT could be investigated by using a similar approach to that employed for investigating a Dangerous World IT, and; also to explore if a Dangerous World and Uncontrollability IT were meaningfully associated. The combined results of this thesis support the use of art-therapy methodology to investigate the deeper, more implicit cognitive components implicated in a Dangerous World and Uncontrollability IT. Results also indicate that attachment is an important variable to control for when investigating cognition implicated in implicit theories. This thesis concludes with a summary of the findings, a discussion of the methodological limitations of the studies and suggestions for future research.
  • Sagrillo Scarpati, A. (2018). The role of culture and morality on men’s acceptance of sexual aggression myths and perpetration of rape in Brazil and the United Kingdom.
    The understanding of sexual violence perpetration is complex and calls for a multifactorial approach, as this behaviour seems to be the final product of an intricate arrangement of individual, social and contextual elements (Ward & Beech, 2006; Ward & Beech, 2008; Ward & Casey, 2010; Ward & Gannon, 2006). In addition, due to ethical constraints, this phenomenon cannot be investigated via realistic analogous studies in the context of the laboratory, making it hard for researchers to unveil the factors which are
    determinants for its occurrence. The primary goal of this thesis is to address this deficiency by discussing certain variables (sexism, moral values, rape myths and gender norms) that may serve to either legitimise types of sexually aggressive discourses and practices (and therefore
    increase the chances of its occurrence), or to condemn them (and thus lower those chances), exploring how it might affect men's likelihood to sexually offend (i.e., rape) women in two different countries. A series of six studies (of qualitative and quantitative nature) with adult men from one European (the U.K) and one Latin American (Brazil) culture were conducted. In line with expectations, overall results suggest that both social norms and morality play an important role in the way men understand sexual violence in both countries. More importantly, findings provide evidence of a strong relationship between individuals' use of moral
    disengagement strategies and their likelihood to perpetrate rape. Parallel to that, this piece of work offers researchers a new self-reported measure: the Moral Disengagement in Sexual Violence Scale (MDinSV). To conclude, this thesis presents a wider and more in-depth conceptualisation of the social-cognitive mechanisms that neutralise and justify sexually violent behaviour.
  • Page, T. (2015). Social Cognitions that Normalise Sexual Harassment of Women at Work: The Role of Moral Disengagement.
    Sexual harassment against women represents aggressive behaviour that is often enacted instrumentally, in response to a threatened sense of masculinity and male identity (cf. Maass & Cadinu, 2006). To date, however, empirical and theoretical attention to the social-cognitive processes that regulate workplace harassment is scant. Drawing on Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1986), the current thesis utilises the theoretical concept of moral disengagement in order to address this important gap in the literature. According to Bandura (1990, 1999), moral standards and self-sanctions (i.e., negative emotions of guilt or shame) can be selectively deactivated through various psychosocial mechanisms. The use of these moral disengagement strategies enables a person to violate their moral principles, and perpetrate injurious behaviour without incurring self-censure. This thesis investigates the general hypothesis that moral disengagement facilitates and perpetuates workplace sexual harassment. A new conceptual framework is presented, elucidating the self-regulatory role of moral disengagement mechanisms in sexual harassment perpetration at work. Eight empirical studies are reported in this thesis. Studies 1 to 3 present the development and preliminary validation of the Moral Disengagement in Sexual Harassment Scale (MDiSH); a self-report measure of moral disengagement in the context of hostile work environment harassment. These studies document the excellent psychometric properties of this new scale. The MDiSH exhibited positive correlations with sexual harassment myth acceptance, male gender identification, and hostile sexism. In Study 3, participants were exposed to a fictitious case of hostile work environment harassment. The MDiSH attenuated moral judgment, negative emotions (guilt, shame, and anger), sympathy, and endorsement of prosocial behavioural intentions (support for restitution) associated with the harassment case. Conversely, the MDiSH increased positive affect (happiness) about the harassment, endorsement of avoidant behavioural intentions, and attribution of blame to the female complainant. Using the amalgamated samples of Studies 1 and 2, the MDiSH was winnowed down to create a short form of the scale (MDiSH-S). The analyses reported in Chapter 3 attest to the strong psychometric properties of this measure. Study 4 explores the influence of social identification on the relationship between moral disengagement and judgments of hostile work environment harassment. U.S. participants were presented with a harassment case in which the perpetrators were described as being either in-group or out-group members. Moral disengagement (as measured using the MDiSH) neutralised judgments of the harassing behaviour. However, participants were not more inclined to justify and positively re-appraise harassment that was committed by in-group perpetrators. Study 5 reveals that moral disengagement leads people to make more favourable judgments about the perpetrators of hostile work environment harassment. The neutralising effects of moral disengagement on judgments of the harassing conduct were partially mediated by a positive evaluation of the harassers (but not social identification with them). The final three studies (Studies 6, 7, and 8) investigate the role of moral disengagement in accounting for men’s self-reported proclivity to commit quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment. These studies examine the causal pathway between moral disengagement and harassment proclivity, and the psychological mechanisms (emotions and moral judgment) that underlie this relationship. Taken together, the results suggest that moral disengagement mechanisms are important social cognitions that people use to deny, downplay, and justify workplace sexual harassment. The findings of this thesis also provide preliminary support for the notion that moral disengagement is a self-regulatory process in sexual harassment perpetration at work (cf. Page & Pina, 2015). The thesis concludes with a discussion of theoretical implications of the findings, methodological limitations, practical implications, and suggestions of future research avenues.


  • Cameron, L., Pina, A., Calogero, R., & Sutton, R. (2015). Through their eyes and in their voices: The impact of gender on the lives of young people in England. Scoping review and considerations for future research. Report for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, England. Office of the Children’s Commissioner, England.
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