EXAMINING THE EFFECTS OF TWO SEXUAL ASSAULT/ DATE RAPE INTERVENTIONS IN A POPULATION OF COLLEGE FRESHMEN
Jordan, Jessica Brewster
Sawyer, Robin G.
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Rape is committed more often than any other violent crime on college campuses. Over the years, various interventions have been developed to educate and positively change college students' attitudes, beliefs, and behavioral intentions regarding sexual assault and date rape. Common educational strategies in the sexual assault and date rape programs include the use of films and/or peer educators to help dispel commonly held date rape myths, to improve attitudes and/or knowledge of rape, to decrease rape-related behavioral intentions, to improve communication about sexual decisions, and to increase self-efficacy towards resisting an unwanted sexual experience. However, many intervention studies lack evaluation data to demonstrate the effectiveness of these programs on college campuses. The purpose of this study was to evaluate two experimental conditions in a sample of freshmen students at the University of Maryland, College Park. One intervention group received a sexual assault/date rape educational film followed by participating in a peer-led discussion; the second intervention group received only a peer education presentation; and the control group received no treatment. Pretest and four- to six-week posttest evaluation surveys were administered to participants to determine the effects of the interventions on attitudes towards rape, rape-related behavioral intentions, and sexual communication self-efficacy. The statistical methods used to analyze these data were paired t-tests and nested ANCOVA models. In addition, a Process Evaluation Survey was also administered to the intervention groups immediately upon their completion to capture an overall assessment of the interventions. Lastly, the peer educators delivering these programs completed evaluations after each presentation. Both intervention groups were found to have statistically significant increases in anti-rape attitudes at posttest, with females reporting higher anti-rape attitude scores compared to males in both interventions. Increases in anti-rape behavioral intentions and sexual communication self-efficacy scores were also reported; however, these changes were not statistically significant compared to the control group at posttest. The quantitative and qualitative data collected from the Process Evaluation Surveys and the Peer Educator Evaluations provided further guidance on how to improve the interventions.