Date of Award

4-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Psychology

Program

Psychology - General

First Advisor/Chairperson

Jacob Daar

Abstract

This paper explores the reactions of college students to sexual violence scenarios. Scenarios depicted long-term, same-sex and opposite-sex dating couples. Eight scenarios were created, varying along the factors of: presentation medium (video, written) and sex(es) of assailant and victim (Male/Female (M/F), Male/Male (M/M), Female/Female (F/F), and Female/Male (F/M)). Each participant was presented with one of the eight scenarios, in a between-groups fashion. Participants’ conceptualizations of the scenarios were gathered via comprehension and interpretation questions. Participants were also asked questions to gather demographic information. Demographic analyses showed that over one-third of respondents had experienced sexual assault. Contrary to hypotheses, written scenarios were found to be more believable and emotionally evocative than were video scenarios. Students were also more likely to identify sexual assault as having happened in the written, as opposed to video, scenarios, but showed no significant differences in their determinations of sexual assault among the conditions based on the sex(es) of the assailant and victim. However, respondents did think that M/F scenarios were more believable than F/M scenarios, and clearer than M/M and F/F scenarios. On average, students agreed/strongly agreed that sexual assault and unwanted sexual behaviors had occurred in the scenarios.

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