Prevalence of Rape Myths in Headlines and Their Effects on Attitudes Toward Rape
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The present research investigated the prevalence and effects of rape myths in newspaper headlines. In study 1, a content analysis of online news headlines from US media (N = 555) surrounding the 2003–2004 Kobe Bryant sexual assault case showed that 10% endorsed a rape myth. In study 2, students at a mid-sized university in the mid-western USA (N = 154) read headlines endorsing or not endorsing rape myths. Male participants exposed to myth-endorsing headlines were (a) less likely to think Bryant was guilty than those exposed to non-myth headlines, (b) more likely to hold rape-supportive attitudes than those exposed to non-myth headlines, and (c) more likely to hold rape-supportive attitudes than were female participants exposed to myth-endorsing headlines.
KeywordsSexual assault Rape myths Media News headlines Attitudes towards rape
This research was supported in part by a Faculty Advisor Research grant from Psi Chi. We are grateful for help with data collection from Taran Shepard, Alicia Hill, and Vanessa Nuñez.
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