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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Donna J. Hess


This research was a study of self-reported sexually aggressive behavior of male college students toward women. The major purpose of the research was the prediction of nonconsensual sexual behavior based on two groups of variables: social/demographic and attitudinal. The former included family social class background, employment status of mother, religiosity, religious fundamentalism, rural-urban background, age, marital status, and year in college. The attitudinal variables were gender- role conceptions (attitudes toward women and women's roles), acceptance of rape myths and sex-role stereotypes, and belief in exploitation and violence as legitimate modes of behavior in heterosexual relationships. The variables found to be significantly related to male sexual aggression were the (1) Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence and (2) whether mother had been employed outside the home. Only the Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence variable made a significant contribution to the prediction of sexual aggression when the effects of other independent variables were partialled out. Moreover, family social class background and rural-urban background were found not to be associated with male sexual aggression. The research found no empirical support for the feminist argument of a direct relationship between traditional gender role conceptions and male sexual aggression. However, there was a strong, statistically significant association between traditional gender-role conceptions and rape myth acceptance, and a moderately positive relationship between religious fundamentalism and traditional gender-role conceptions. There was weak support for the feminist argument of a relationship between rape-supportive attitudes such as the Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence (gamma=.194, p<.02) and male sexual aggression. The majority of the respondents (64%) reported they had engaged in a wide spectrum of sexually aggressive behavior toward women. Moderate to strong, positive correlations were found between the sexual experiences of male students for before and since college entrance. It was found that religiosity did not inhibit male sexual aggression.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Men -- Sexual behavior
Men -- Attitudes
College students -- Sexual behavior
College students -- Attitudes




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