Psychology ETDs


Erica Nason

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This study evaluated the effects of a sexual victimization history, psychopathology, and sexual attitudes on the effectiveness of womens responses to high and low risk dating and social situations. Two hundred and twenty undergraduate women listened to a description of each situation, viewed a clip of an actor making a verbal prompt, and provided a videotaped, verbal response to each situation. Participants then completed measures assessing victimization status, psychopathology and sexual attitudes. Finally, participants viewed their responses and rated how effective each response was at decreasing their risk for having an unwanted sexual experience (i.e. an experience in which a woman may be verbally or physically coerced into having sexual contact of any kind with a man). Experts in the sexual violence research area also rated participants' responses using the same instructions. Regression analyses revealed that sexual attitudes were the only significant predictor of response effectiveness for both the high and low risk situations, with greater liberal sexual attitudes predicting decreased response effectiveness. However, mediational analyses indicated that liberal sexual attitudes mediated the relationship between victimization history and participants' response effectiveness to high and low risk situations. Implications for sexual assault prevention interventions are discussed.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Smith, Jane

Second Committee Member

Witherington, David




sexual victimization, revictimization, risk factors, sexual attitudes, response effectiveness

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