Rape Myths and Hookup Culture: An Exploratory Study of U.S. College Students' Perceptions

Abstract

The present study provides the first known systematic examination of the association of hookup culture endorsement and rape myth acceptance. Multivariate regression analysis was conducted to test the primary hypothesis that hookup culture endorsement would be the primary predictor of rape myth acceptance levels among a sample of 422 U.S. college students. Findings indicated the existence of a complex relationship in which rape myth acceptance increases or decreases based upon the form of hookup culture endorsement examined. Beliefs that hookups are harmless and elevate social status increased rape myth acceptance, whereas beliefs that hookups express sexual freedom decreased rape myth acceptance. Furthermore, results supported the hypothesis that hookup culture endorsement was the largest predictor of rape myth acceptance. Consistent with previous studies, the predictive power of gender and religiosity in determining levels of rape myth acceptance were shown to be significant. When controlling for levels of hookup culture endorsement, the explanatory power of these variables decreased, and hookup culture endorsement had the largest effect upon rape myth acceptance levels.

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Correspondence to Timothy T. Reling.

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There were no potential conflicts of interest regarding this research. All subjects had the option to decline participation in the study. To mitigate psychological harm, subjects were administered a list of local mental health services to contact should the need have arisen.

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Reling, T.T., Barton, M.S., Becker, S. et al. Rape Myths and Hookup Culture: An Exploratory Study of U.S. College Students' Perceptions. Sex Roles 78, 501–514 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-017-0813-4

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Keywords

  • Rape myths
  • Hookup culture
  • Gender