, Volume 32, Issue 5-6, pp 297-313

Perception of sexual intent: The role of gender, alcohol consumption, and rape supportive attitudes

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Abstract

This study examined the effects of participant's gender, participant's rape supportive attitudes, and target's alcohol consumption on participant's perceptions of target's sexual intent. Female and male college students read vignettes in which a young woman and man who were socializing consumed either alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages. At the studied university, approximately 86% of undergraduates were Caucasian, 8% were African American, 3% were Asian, and 3% had other ethnic backgrounds. As hypothesized, men perceived female targets as behaving more sexually than did women, especially men high in rape myth acceptance. Male and female targets' alcohol consumption interacted, such that when both individuals were drinking alcohol they were perceived as being most sexual and their drinking was viewed as most appropriate. The rape myth acceptance and alcohol findings are discussed in terms of their implications for sexual assault and substance abuse prevention programming.

Many thanks to Mary Jo Smith for assistance with data management and analyses. ARBOR staff provided assistance with data coding.