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College student attitudes toward forcible date rape: I. Cognitive predictors


Students completed a questionnaire measuring acceptance of forcible date rape, attitudes toward women, sexual knowledge, sexual experience, tolerance of socially unapproved sexual behavior, and religiosity. Findings suggested that persons relatively more accepting of forcible date rape are less sure it really is rape, have more traditional attitudes toward women, are more selfsexually permissive (i.e., more tolerant of their own socially unapproved of sexual behavior, such as premarital and extramarital sex with friends or casual acquaintances), have less accurate sexual knowledge and, though a large majority blame the male, are slightly more inclined than others to blame society or the situation. These predictor variables accounted for 35% of the variance in attitudes toward forcible date rape and identified correctly about two-thirds of the students classified as nonrejectors of forcible date rape, i.e., those who did not consider the male's behavior definitely unacceptable under any one of nine circumstances, including “He spent a lot of money on her.” In addition to the emotional and personality variables often cited in rapists, the cognitive predictor variables found may be salient to understanding the etiology of rape.

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Fischer, G.J. College student attitudes toward forcible date rape: I. Cognitive predictors. Arch Sex Behav 15, 457–466 (1986).

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Key words

  • date rape
  • cognitive predictor variables
  • male sexuality
  • rape