Evaluation of Rape Prevention Programming for Female College Students
Type of DegreeDissertation
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Acquaintance rape is a common phenomenon on American college campuses, and considerable research effort has been directed at developing effective prevention programs for both potential victims and potential perpetrators. In the current study, a didactic rape prevention program for female college students was compared to a didactic program with a behavioral rehearsal component and to a no-contact control group of female students on outcome measures of sexual communication style, dating behaviors, and sexual victimization. 305 participants completed the initial data collection packet and 104 completed the entire study. Participants who completed the entire study did not differ from those who failed to complete it, except that participants who had previously experienced unwanted sex play or attempted sexual intercourse were more likely to attend scheduled presentations. Although groups were determined by random assignment, participants in the didactic program with the behavioral rehearsal component had experienced significantly less sexual victimization at initial data collection than participants in the control group. Analysis of the outcome measures revealed no significant differences among the groups in terms of their sexual communication styles and dating behaviors. Participants assigned to the didactic and behavioral rehearsal group had experienced significantly less sexual victimization during the follow-up period than participants in the control condition. It is unclear whether this difference was due to the intervention or to the lower incidence of prior victimization experiences. Future studies should seek to decrease participant attrition in order to more accurately assess the effectiveness of rape prevention interventions with female college students.