PREDICTORS OF ATTITUDES TOWARD RAPE IN A COLLEGE POPULATION (GENDER ROLES, SEXUAL IDEOLOGY, UNITED STATES)

ILSA LOKKE LOTTES, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Recent research has supported the views that widely accepted attitudes about rape, rape victims, and rapists (a) help sexually coercive/assaultive men justify and deny the negative effects of their behavior; and (b) severely hinder both the reporting of rape and the recovery of rape victims. This study investigated predictors of attitudes toward rape for a sample of 390 college students in the Northeastern United States. The specific attitudes considered--referred to as "victim-callous" rape attitudes--were (a) Women enjoy sexual violence, (b) Sex rather than power is the primary motivation for rape, (c) Women are responsible for rape prevention, (d) Rape happens only to certain kinds of women, (e) Women falsely report many rape claims, (f) A woman is less desirable after she has been raped, and (g) Rape is justified in some situations. Variables assessing sexual experience, egalitarian gender role beliefs, adversarial sexual beliefs, macho personality, and attitudes toward female sexuality, homosexuality, extramarital sex, and premarital sex were examined for their ability to predict rape attitudes. The hypotheses suggested by previous studies were that respondents with more nonegalitarian gender role beliefs, adversarial sexual beliefs, traditional attitudes toward female sexuality, disapproving attitudes toward homosexuality, and macho personality have more victim-callous rape attitudes.^ Data were collected by administering a questionnaire to classes of students. With exceptions of the macho personality measure which contained forced-choice items and the sexual experience measures which were short-answer items, variables were assessed by 5-point Likert scales. Stepwise multiple regression indicated that for both men and women, the significant predictors--adversarial sexual beliefs, nonegalitarian gender role beliefs, traditional attitudes toward female sexuality, and attitudes toward premarital sex--accounted for 59% of the variance of victim-callous attitudes toward rape. In a regression done only for men, macho personality was found to be a significant predictor. The correlation and regression results supported the hypotheses of this study and suggested specific relationships between sexual ideology and rape attitudes. A discussion of the tenets of two divergent sexual ideologies--one male-dominant and the other egalitarian--shows how the former ideology leads to an acceptance of victim-callous rape attitudes and the latter leads to their rejection. ^

Subject Area

Education, Social Sciences

Recommended Citation

ILSA LOKKE LOTTES, "PREDICTORS OF ATTITUDES TOWARD RAPE IN A COLLEGE POPULATION (GENDER ROLES, SEXUAL IDEOLOGY, UNITED STATES)" (January 1, 1986). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI8703238.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8703238

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