Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Department

Psychology

Second Department

Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Jennifer Groscup

Reader 2

Steven Samford

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Rights Information

© 2014 Leslie Sachs

Abstract

Recent political and legal action has raised awareness about underreporting of sexual assaults on college campuses. The present study sought to identify psychological and institutional barriers to reporting sexual assaults through a series of questionnaires administered to current college students (N= 364). To investigate the relationship between policy variations and students’ likelihood of reporting, a 2 (option to report informally versus only formally) x 2 (student involvement in investigation/judicial board: involved versus uninvolved) x 2 (option to terminate an investigation: entirely in student’s control versus up to discretion of administration) between groups factorial design was used. The findings suggest that respondents’ were significantly more likely to report a sexual assault when given the option to terminate the investigation at anytime, when school size, rape myth acceptance and socio-cultural environment were controlled for in the analysis. These findings suggest that the option for complainants to terminate an investigation, their socio-cultural environment and individual rape myth acceptance are important factors in shaping attitudes towards reporting sexual assaults.

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