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The Effect of School Rape-Supportive Norms on Rape Proclivity

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posted on 22.02.2015, 00:00 by Mark R. Relyea
Rape prevention programs have recently begun using social norms interventions in addition to, or in lieu of, individual-level interventions. These programs assume that rape-supportive social norms influence the likelihood of rape. The current study tests that assumption by analyzing how school-level aggregates of men‘s rape myth acceptance (RMA) and hostile masculinity affect rape proclivity. Data for this study come from 1326 male students in 11 high schools throughout Illinois. At the individual level, risk and protective factors were similar to past studies: higher RMA and hostile masculinity were associated with increases in rape proclivity. Conversely, believing men have a responsibility to prevent rape, that they would personally intervene to prevent assault, and that there are negative consequences for perpetrating rape were all associated with decreased rape proclivity. After controlling for these individual factors, results indicate that higher school social norms for hostile masculinity increase the odds of reporting some likelihood of sexual assault. Against hypotheses, school social norms for RMA did not have a direct negative effect on proclivity; however, these results were partially qualified by interactions. School social norms for RMA appear to affect students differently depending on their own RMA. Results support efforts to target both individual and community-level factors. Implications for prevention programs are discussed.



Riger, Stephanie



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University of Illinois at Chicago

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Weissberg, Roger Paul Schewe

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