NOTE: These summaries were written by SVPEP staff and are based on the original papers. The information available on this web site is provided as a public service and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the Arizona Department of Health Services, or the University of Arizona.
Auster, C. J., & Leone, J. M. (2001). Late adolescents’ perspectives on marital rape: The impact of gender and fraternity/sorority membership. Adolescence, 36, 141-152.
Previous studies on college age men and women have shown gender differences in attitudes and beliefs about sexual assault and rape. Furthermore, college men associated with fraternities have exhibited high rape myth acceptance rates and increased negative attitudes toward women. The current study aims to identify the relationship between gender as well as sorority and fraternity affiliation on attitudes toward marital rape. A total of 209 college students who attended a small liberal arts college in the Northeast were asked to respond to questions intended to reveal the participants’ ideas about: (a) the relationship between stranger and marital rape, (b) the options available to victims of marital rape, and (c) laws addressing marital rape. Results showed that non-fraternity men were more likely than fraternity men to agree that stranger rape and marital rape were equally criminal acts. Regardless of sorority membership status, women were more likely than men to believe that a victim of marital rape should take legal action against her husband. Women were also more likely than men to agree that marital rape should be considered a felony. The findings of this study suggest that fraternity men have elevated levels of rape myth acceptance and poor attitudes toward women that may increase their risk of inappropriate sexual behavior, including sexual assault perpetration.
Boeringer, S. B. (1999). Associations of rape-supportive attitudes with fraternal and athletic participation. Violence Against Women, 5, 81-90.
The author examined rape-supportive attitudes in a sample of fraternity members, university athletes, and a control population. In all, a sample of 477 male university students were recruited. Results indicate that fraternity men report significantly greater endorsement of five statements supportive of rape and adversarial gender beliefs than did the controls. The author also found that athletes reported significantly greater agreement with 14 rape-supportive statements than did men in the control condition. The control group only reported greater agreement with 2 rape-supportive statements. This study tends to support the contention that there is a measurable relationship between rape-supportive attitudes and membership in fraternal or athletic organizations.
Borsari, B. E., & Carey, K. B. (1999). Understanding fraternity drinking: Five recurring themes in the literature, 1980-1998. J A College Health, 48, 30-37.
This article reviews the literature concerning fraternities and alcohol use on American campuses from 1980 to 1998 by focusing on issues related to: (a) precollege drinking patterns, (b) the self-selection process of heavy drinkers into particular fraternities that endorse alcohol abuse, (c) the role of alcohol in fraternity socialization, (d) individuals’ misperception of their peers’ drinking norms, and (e) the physical environment of fraternity houses that enable and encourage alcohol abuse by providing easy access to alcohol and peer support in the absence of adult supervision. The authors emphasize that understanding the pervasive role of alcohol within fraternity social structures is fundamental to addressing alcohol abuse on college campuses. They also suggest that the effect of peer pressure among students may be a powerful tool for intervention. It can be used to disseminate and endorse normative behavior to counteract predominant misperceptions concerning alcohol use on campuses.
Boswell, A. A., & Spade, J. Z. (1996). Fraternities and collegiate rape culture: Why are some fraternities more dangerous places for women? Gender & Society, 10, 133-147.
This article examines social interactions at college fraternities identified as high or low for rape risk, as well as two local bars. Gender relations, the treatment of women, and attitudes toward rape are discussed. The authors found that women not known to fraternity members were at highest risk of rape. High-risk social settings were characterized by high alcohol consumption, loud music, little conversation/interaction among men and women, routine degradation of women, and more full participation in the "hook-up scene," leading to the probability of women becoming faceless victims. The authors' findings suggest that an environment more conducive to conversation can promote positive interactions between men and women. They suggest that in order to eliminate campus rape culture, student leaders and administrators must examine the situations in which women and men meet and restructure these settings to provide opportunities for respectful interaction.
Brown, T. J., Sumner, K. E., & Nocera, R. (2002). Understanding sexual aggression against women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 17, 937-952.
This article describes a study of 139 male college students attending a predominantly White, midsize, Midwestern university. These students responded to five questionnaires: the Psychosocial Function of Sports Scale (to assess sport ideology), a questionnaire measuring the types and amount of sports they participated in or viewed, the Attitudes Toward Women Scale (to measure attitudes towards women in society), the Coercive Sexuality Scale (to assess college males’ level of involvement in sexually coercive or aggressive behaviors), and a brief demographic questionnaire (which asked about age, class standing, and fraternity membership). Analysis of these data indicated that fraternity membership, conservative attitudes towards women, and viewing contact sports were significant predictors of sexual aggression against women. Higher scores predicted higher levels of aggression. Oddly, low scores on men’s contact sports participation also predicted higher levels of sexual aggression towards women.
Choate, L. H. (2003). Sexual assault prevention programs for college men: An exploratory evaluation of the Men Against Violence model. Journal of College Counseling, 6, 166-176.
Several colleges and universities have offered date rape prevention programs for female students. The focus of these programs generally includes risk reduction and self-defense, among other preventative measures. Previous studies have shown that fraternities may reinforce rape myth acceptance among members; therefore, the current study implemented a date and acquaintance rape prevention program aimed to educate male college students affiliated with fraternities. The participants included 149 male fraternity members from a large, public university. Each participant attended a peer led, 1-hour program derived from the Men Against Violence (MAV) student organization program model. The issues addressed during the program were: (a) rape statistics, (b) legal definitions of rape, (c) rape myth acceptance, and (d) repercussions from drug usage in the facilitation of rape. After completing the program, the participants were asked to fill out an evaluation developed to record how the program content affected each of the men. Results of the qualitative analysis indicated that the program was informational – especially in the areas of legal definitions of rape and the harmful nature of gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), a date rape drug. Further analysis showed that many of the men believed the most important element of the program was the dispelling of rape myth beliefs that can potentially lead to rape. Results from this study suggest a need for more rape prevention programs for college men. Important attributes of such programs should include the clarification of rape definitions and a strong focus on the elimination of rape myth acceptance beliefs.
Davis, T. L., & Liddell, D. L. (2002). Getting inside the house: The effectiveness of a rape prevention program for college fraternity men. Journal of College Student Development, 43, 35-50.
Studies have shown that the prevalence of acquaintance rape and date rape is much higher than that of stranger rape. While studies on perpetrators of stranger rape have suggested psychopathology as the cause of their actions, according to sociocultural theory, perpetrators of acquaintance rape and date rape may be motivated by gender role ideology. The authors of this study investigated whether sex role socialization modifies males’ attitudes and beliefs condoning rape. A total of 90 fraternity men (between the ages of 18–23 years old), attending a large college in the Midwest, were asked to participate in this study. The participants were divided into three groups: (a) a control group, (b) a group that attended a traditional date rape prevention program, and (c) a group that attended a program aimed at identifying and addressing the gender role ideals of the participants. Each group attended one 90-minute session and was given a pretest, posttest, and a follow-up posttest. Results indicate that both of the treatment groups exhibited lower acceptance of rape myths and an increased understanding of coercion and consent; with the group that attended the traditional date rape prevention program retaining the most information about consent/coercion after six weeks. Gender role conflict was significantly associated with rape myth acceptance. Future research might investigate whether more long-term rape prevention program regimens would prove to have longer lasting effects on gender role ideals and attitudes contributing to acquaintance rape and date rape perpetration.
Foubert, J. D. (2000). The longitudinal effects of a rape-prevention program on fraternity men's attitudes, behavioral intent, and behavior. Journal of American College Health, 48, 158-163.
This study presents the results of 145 fraternity men from a mid-Atlantic university who were randomly selected to determine the results of a victim empathy-based rape prevention program presented by all-male sexual assault prevention peer educators. No evidence of change in sexually coercive behavior was found. Significant declines in rape myth acceptance and the likelihood of committing rape were found with program participants immediately following the intervention. At the 7-month follow-up the decrease in rape myth acceptance remained lower among program participants than within the control group.
Foubert, J. D. & Marriott, K. A. (1997). Effects of a sexual assault peer education program on men's belief in rape myths. Sex Roles, 36, 259-268.
This study looks at an all-male sexual assault peer education program that focuses on helping the survivor of sexual assault. The program of focus in this article resulted in a significant decrease in rape myth acceptance among fraternity pledges that persisted over time. The prevention program had the unexpected result of decreasing the likelihood of sexually coercive behaviors in both the experimental and control groups at posttest. The results in this study suggest that attitude changes among program participants may be long-lasting.
Foubert, J. D., & McEwen, M. K. (1998). An all-male rape prevention peer education program: Decreasing fraternity men's behavioral intent to rape. Journal of College Student Development, 39, 548-556.
The authors demonstrated that participation in an all-male rape prevention peer education program, intended to decrease fraternity men's behavioral intent to rape, led to significant post-program declines in rape myth acceptance and behavioral intent to rape among 155 fraternity men (88% White, mean age of 19.9 years, mostly sophomores and juniors). The participants were divided into either a pretested and posttested rape prevention program group, a posttested rape prevention program group, or an untreated control group. The authors assessed belief in rape myths using the Burt Rape Myth Acceptance Scale. They evaluated central route processing using a state measure. Finally, intent to rape was evaluated by means of Malamuth's (1981) study questions. Results were the same regardless of whether the subjects were pretested or not. The study supports the hypothesis that rape prevention programming is most effective in an all-male peer education format.
Frazier, P., Valtinson, G., & Candell, S. (1994). Evaluation of a coeducational interactive rape prevention program. Journal of Counseling & Development, 73, 153-158.
This study is an evaluation of a coeducational, acquaintance-rape prevention program delivered to 117 sorority and 75 fraternity members (aged 19-27 years) who were randomly assigned to the treatment and control group conditions. Participants completed pretest, posttest, and 1-month follow-up measures concerning attitudes toward gender roles, dating behaviors, and sexual behaviors. Participants also appraised how much they learned from the program. Those who participated in the program endorsed fewer attitudes and beliefs associated with acquaintance rape than did members of the control group and were more likely to agree with statements that endorsed respect and equality, assertive communication, and safety precautions for women immediately following the program. However, the treatment group did not differ from the control group at the 1-month follow-up.
Frintner, M. P., & Rubinson, L. (1993). Acquaintance rape: The influence of alcohol, fraternity membership, and sports team membership. Journal of Sex Education & Therapy, 19, 272-284.
This study determined the extent of sexual victimization among undergraduate women at a large Midwestern university, with specific attention paid to alcohol use, fraternity membership, and sports team membership. The Sexually Stressful Events Survey was utilized with modifications clarifying the level of intoxication, and whether or not the accused was a member of a sports team or fraternity. Previous research documenting the high rate of occurrence of sexual assault and other sexually stressful events on college campuses was affirmed. In addition, it was found that alcohol was involved in the majority of the reported sexually stressful events, suggesting an association between alcohol and sexual violence. Both fraternity and sports team members were over-represented among the crimes of sexual assault, attempted sexual assault and battery, illegal restraint, and intimidation. Fraternity men represented approximately 25% of men on the campus, and were reported as 47.6% of the men involved in sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. Sports team members make up less than 2% of the campus population and were found to comprise 20.2% of the men involved in sexual assault or attempted sexual assault.
Koss, M. P., & Gaines, J. A. (1993). The prediction of sexual aggression by alcohol use, athletic participation, and fraternity affiliation. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 8, 94-108.
The objective of the research in this article was to analyze the cooperative effect of alcohol, athletic participation, and fraternity association on sexual aggression among male college students. A sample of 140 college athletes, from a highly ranked university, was taken. These male athletes had all responded to a survey in a college class. The results show that alcohol consumption is the greatest predictor of sexual aggression, followed by nicotine use. It was also determined that athletic participation contributed to the effect of sexual aggression but was a weaker predictor than alcohol was. No predictions of fraternity affiliation could be made. Limitations of the study were also discussed.
Lenihan, G. O., & Rawlins, M. E. (1994). Rape supportive attitudes among Greek students before and after a date rape prevention program. Journal of College Student Development, 35, 450-455.
In addition to the assessment of supportive attitudes of sorority and fraternity members, this article evaluated a mandatory date rape education program, drawing comparisons with a non-Greek organization group that had been studied earlier. A total of 636 male and female Greek organization students participated, compared to 821 non-Greek organization students who served as controls. Greek organization subjects completed the Rape Supportive Attitudes Survey (RSAS) before and after the program. Control subjects had taken the RSAS two years earlier without any education program. Greek organization students registered more desirable baseline scores than non-Greeks on the RSAS but showed no change as a result of the education program.
Lottes, I. L., & Kuriloff, P. J. (1994). Sexual socialization differences by gender, Greek membership, ethnicity, and religious background. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18, 203-219.
Examined how parental and peer sexual socialization influences are related to gender, ethnicity, religious background, and college membership in a fraternity or sorority. A sample of 557 college students (52% male, 48% female) including 76% White, 13% Asian, and 7% Black, completed questionnaires both as entering first year students and as seniors. Compared to women, men continued to experience a more permissive sexual socialization from both parents and peers. Fraternity and sorority membership was associated with a more permissive socialization from peers but not parents. Asian students reported a more restrictive sexual socialization than Blacks or Caucasians. With respect to religious background, there were no significant differences in peer sexual socialization; however, Jewish participants reported a significantly more permissive parental sexual socialization than did Catholic and Protestant participants.
Tewsbury, R., & Mustaine, E. E. (2001). Lifestyle factors associated with sexual assault of men: A routine activity theory analysis. Journal of Men’s Studies, 9, 153-182.
The purpose of this study is to extend previous knowledge about the sexual assault victimization of males from female perpetrators. The authors have attempted to conduct a thorough study by evaluating: (a) the different levels of sexual assault severity men experience, (b) a large sample from various educational institutions, (c) current routines and previous lifestyles in assessing victimization vulnerability, and (d) victim characteristics that are gender specific. The participants in this study were 1,215 college students, both male and female, attending 12 different institutes in southern North America. This study found that alcohol use and fraternity affiliation were not indicators of male sexual assault victimization. Nonwhites, college athletes, and men who regularly went to the same bar and those who frequently used drugs were all more likely to be victims of sexual assault.