Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 437–450 | Cite as

Consenting to Sexual Activity: The Development and Psychometric Assessment of Dual Measures of Consent

  • Kristen N. JozkowskiEmail author
  • Stephanie Sanders
  • Zoë D. Peterson
  • Barbara Dennis
  • Michael Reece
Original Paper


Sexual assault prevention efforts have focused on educating students to obtain consent as a mechanism to reduce sexual assault, yet little is known about how college students consent to sex. Additionally, there are currently no measures available to assess students’ consent to sex. The current study aimed to better understand college students consent by using a systematic approach to develop validated measures of sexual consent. This study integrated mixed methods via three phases and two waves of data collection to develop two measures of consent. In Phase 1, qualitative data were collected from college students (n = 185) to inform the design of quantitative measures aimed at assessing sexual consent at last sexual intercourse. In Phase 2, items were written for the closed-ended quantitative instrument and reviewed by a team of experts, educators, and clinicians. In Phase 3, a quantitative survey was administered to college students (n = 660) which included the measures of consent developed from the Phase 1 data; the measures were assessed for their psychometric properties. Exploratory factor analyses were utilized to assess the measures and resulted in five factors each for both consent scales. Both scales had high internal consistency reliability, showed gender differences, and showed differences across relationship status (single vs. in a relationship). The two newly developed measures assess unique constructs of consent and demonstrate assessments of specific concepts. Our findings provide an important contribution to the field of sexuality as these measures can be used in future research to better understand sexual consent.


Sexual consent Sexual assault College students 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristen N. Jozkowski
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Stephanie Sanders
    • 2
  • Zoë D. Peterson
    • 3
  • Barbara Dennis
    • 4
  • Michael Reece
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Health, Human Performance & Recreation, College of Education and Health ProfessionUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA
  2. 2.The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and ReproductionIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Missouri-St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, School of EducationIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Applied Health Science, School of Public Health-BloomingtonIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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