Psychology ETDs


Kari Leiting

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This study examined the effects of a sexual victimization history, sexual attitudes, ethnicity, and proximity of past sexual assault on womens hypothetical sexual assault scripts. It also compared previously sexually victimized women's hypothetical sexual assault scripts to their actual assault narratives. Two hundred forty-seven undergraduate women wrote hypothetical sexual assault scripts describing an unwanted sexual experience and completed measures assessing the individual differences variables of interest. Women who reported a victimization history then wrote about their assault experience while women who did not report such history wrote about a bad date or 'hook-up' experience. A coding manual was developed and experts in the sexual violence research area coded the hypothetical scripts and assault narratives. Qualitative analysis revealed several important relationships between the individual differences variables and specific script characteristics. Specifically, victimization history had the most differences related to individual variables. Victimized women included alcohol, consensual kissing, and the context of a party in their hypothetical scripts more frequently than nonvictimized women. They described knowing the man for between one month and one year less frequently than nonvictimized women. Results also indicated distinct incongruence between women's hypothetical scripts and their actual assault narratives. These results suggest that this relationship should be explored further to understand how women develop and make adjustments to their sexual assault scripts as it could inform the development of prevention programs as well as assist in identifying women at risk for victimization.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Venner, Kamilla

Second Committee Member

Verney, Steve




College students--Sexual behavior, Women college students--Abuse of, Person schemas, Risk assessment.

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