Presenter Information

Lauren Jaeger, University of Wyoming

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Matt Gray

Description

Sexual assault is an unfortunately prevalent devastating crime, leaving victims with a range of physical and emotional injuries. In an effort to decrease the occurrence of sexual assault, researchers and university personnel have developed prevention and risk reduction programs on college campuses. Though important efforts, the results of these programs have been mixed. Some evidence suggests that individuals who endorse rape myths (i.e., endorse rape supportive beliefs and victim blaming attitudes) over estimate the degree to which their opinions are shared by others. Because most individuals disavow such notions, it is believed that providing individuals with corrective information about normative behavior and beliefs will be helpful in challenging such opinions. This investigation directly compared two types of norms (descriptive and injunctive) to evaluate the comparative efficacy of each approach. Participants endorsing rape myths in a previously administered survey study were randomly assigned to nor mative information conditions and impact on rape myth acceptance immediately and one week later was assessed. Preliminary analyses suggest that attitude changes were sustained at a higher rate in individuals who were exposed to both descriptive and injunc tive norms.

Comments

Oral Presentation, UW Honors Program , Wyoming INBRE

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Descriptive versus Injunctive Norms in Reducing Rape Myths: A survey study

Sexual assault is an unfortunately prevalent devastating crime, leaving victims with a range of physical and emotional injuries. In an effort to decrease the occurrence of sexual assault, researchers and university personnel have developed prevention and risk reduction programs on college campuses. Though important efforts, the results of these programs have been mixed. Some evidence suggests that individuals who endorse rape myths (i.e., endorse rape supportive beliefs and victim blaming attitudes) over estimate the degree to which their opinions are shared by others. Because most individuals disavow such notions, it is believed that providing individuals with corrective information about normative behavior and beliefs will be helpful in challenging such opinions. This investigation directly compared two types of norms (descriptive and injunctive) to evaluate the comparative efficacy of each approach. Participants endorsing rape myths in a previously administered survey study were randomly assigned to nor mative information conditions and impact on rape myth acceptance immediately and one week later was assessed. Preliminary analyses suggest that attitude changes were sustained at a higher rate in individuals who were exposed to both descriptive and injunc tive norms.