Rape myth beliefs and bystander attitudes among incoming college students

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275 Scopus citations


Objective: The bystander approach to rape prevention is gaining popularity on college campuses, although research is limited. This study explored bystander attitudes and their relationship with rape myths in a sample of college students. Participants: Surveys from 2,338 incoming undergraduate students at a large, northeastern university were analyzed. Methods: Participants completed revised versions of the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale and the Bystander Attitude Scale. Results: A higher acceptance of rape myths was reported by males, those pledging a fraternity/sorority, athletes, those without previous rape education, and those who did not know someone sexually assaulted. A greater willingness to intervene as a bystander was reported by females, those who had previous rape education, and those who knew someone sexually assaulted. Acceptance of rape myths was negatively related to willingness to intervene. Conclusions: Bystander intervention programs should include content on rape myths as well as focus on the role of gender.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • bystander intervention
  • rape myths
  • rape prevention


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