An updated measure for assessing subtle rape myths

Sarah McMahon, Lawrence G. Farmer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


Social workers responsible for developing rape prevention programs on college campuses must have valid evaluation instruments. This article presents the challenges encountered by the authors when they attempted to keep rape myth measures relevant to student by updating the language to reflect the subtleties involved with rape myths. The development of a modified version of the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale is described. Focus groups were conducted to gather feedback about the language used by college students related to sexual encounters and rape. The instrument was then tested with 951 undergraduate students at a large northeastern university. Exploratory structural equation modeling was used to assess the factor structure of the scale. In addition, multiple-indicators multiple-causes modeling was used to assess the potential differential item functioning of the measure's items by gender, previous experience with sexual assault prevention programming, and knowing someone who was sexually assaulted. A four-factor structure was hypothesized and a five-factor supported, indicating a separate factor that looks at alcohol and accountability. for social workers are discussed, including the necessity of continuously updating rape myth measures to ensure validity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-81
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Work Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Measurement
  • Prevention
  • Rape

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