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Dissertation

Date rape: A prevention program for new college students

25 July 1995

Abstract

The prevalence of date rape on college campuses is high and the consequences for both men and women severe. As such, mental health professionals are being called upon to institute and evaluate date-rape primary prevention programs. This dissertation describes such a program. A randomized control group, pre- and post-test research design was utilized to compare the behavioral intentions of university students exposed to a primary prevention date-rape workshop (n = 85) to those of students not exposed to the program (n = 87). The criterion measures by which the treatment effects were assessed included intent to avoid risk taking behaviors and to communicate about sexual issues. At this time, there have not been any systematic primary prevention programs for both genders which have focused on these two variables as targets of change. Two hypotheses were tested in this study. The first hypothesis was that a dynamic, interactive date-rape prevention program would increase participants' intent to avoid risk-taking behaviors and communicate about sexual issues. The former part of the hypothesis was not confirmed at the standard 2-= .05 level. A factorial 2 X 2 ANOVA demonstrated that males, regardless of group assignment or time of testing, were less willing than females to avoid risk-taking behaviors. The latter part of the hypothesis was confirmed and a large treatment effect demonstrated. A factorial 2 X 2 ANOVA indicated that both male and female subjects had similar levels of willingness to communicate about sexual issues. The second hypothesis was that the program's effect would not vary according to the gender of the subject. In terms of participants' intent to communicate about sexual issues, this hypothesis was confirmed. These findings are interpreted; their limitations discussed; and recommendations made for the design, implementation, and evaluation of future date-rape prevention programs.


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