Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Dr. Paul-Philippe Pare


Using multiple waves of data (1999,2004, 2009) from the General Social Survey (GSS) on victimization, the following study analyzes a number of factors thought to be influential in the practice of self-defense among young Canadian men (N=9,049) over time. Two perspectives are examined: 1) The practice of self-defense is related to feelings of insecurity among young men, and is a rational, adaptive response to perceived or actual dangerous environmental threats; 2) In addition to the effects of insecurity, the practice of self-defense should increase over time as a result of the mainstream popularity of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and mixed martial arts, and may be the result of a potential “UFC effect”.

Results indicate a strong, positive relationship between measures of insecurity (e.g., prior experience of violent victimization) and the likelihood of practicing self-defense, while evidence in support of the UFC hypothesis is, for the most part, absent. However, supplementary analyses lend partial support for the presence of such an effect, though it is less than definitive and only applies to young men of lower income. The implications of these findings are presented and discussed from both a theoretical and policy-oriented perspective.



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