Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type


Program or Major

Justice Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Ellen S Cohn

Second Advisor

Donna M Perkins

Third Advisor

Katherine R Abbott


Over four decades, researchers have continued to find that sexual violence is highly predicted by rape myth acceptance and that those individuals who have higher rape myth acceptance are more likely to become perpetrators of sexual assault and rape. While researchers found that gender, athletic participation, Greek affiliation, and attitudes towards women were valid predictors of rape myth acceptance scores, the evidence was mixed for other factors such as race, age, and religiosity. However, few researchers examined the effects of readiness to change and bystander efficacy on rape myth acceptance. This study used data from a larger study to examine the predictors and consequences of rape myth acceptance among university students during Spring and Fall 2003. A total of 389 participants (172 men, 217 women) completed the pre-test questionnaires measuring their knowledge about rape, attitudes about rape myths and their potential bystander behaviors. I hypothesized that those who scored lower in rape myth acceptance would place more emphasis on positive consequences and less emphasis on negative consequences when making a decision about intervening. In addition, I predicted that those who scored lower in rape myth acceptance would have more confidence in intervening as a bystander. Further, I predicted that people’s bystander efficacy and decisions about intervening in threatening situations would be consequences of rape myth acceptance. All of my hypotheses were supported. The implications for changing rape myth acceptance were discussed.