Psychology ETDs

Publication Date



Researchers have identified many variables associated with the risk of sexual victimization among college women, including a previous history of sexual victimization and the ability to appraise and respond to victimization risk. Nurius and Norris (1996) included these and other variables in their theoretical model of factors influencing womens sexual victimization risk appraisal and response. The current study attempted to examine one part of that complex model, the role of social goals and expectations in women's perceptions of and responses to victimization risk. The study also used a social information processing model to inform a task-based method of measuring women's judgments of and responses to sexual victimization risk. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the relationships between previous sexual victimization and social goals, sex-related beliefs, and women's risk-related skills. College women's social goals, particularly those related to affiliation and intimacy, were negatively related to their judgments of and responses to hypothetical situations with some level of risk for sexual victimization; women with greater affiliation motivation and intimacy relationship orientation, judged hypothetical scenarios to be less risky and generated and selected less effective responses as well. These goals were also related to women's beliefs about the positive influence of alcohol on consensual sexual experiences. The study's approach to measuring college women's social goals and expectations increases understanding of the construct's potential role in the process of judging and responding to risk for sexual victimization, while also providing a foundation from which to develop more nuanced measures of college women's social goals and expectations. Further investigation of these relationships may help improve intervention and prevention of sexual victimization among college women.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Smith, Jane Ellen

Second Committee Member

Witkiewitz, Katie

Third Committee Member

Bryan, Angela




sexual victimization, college women, social goals

Document Type


Included in

Psychology Commons