Gender Issues

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 97–110 | Cite as

A Behavior Intervention to Reduce Sexism in College Men

  • Christopher KilmartinEmail author
  • Robin Semelsberger
  • Sarah Dye
  • Erin Boggs
  • David Kolar
Original Article


Sexism is associated with a number of negative outcomes, including gender-based violence and pay inequity. Men overestimate their male peers’ sexism, which may make them reluctant to intervene. Moreover, they often have little practice at doing so. Several researchers have demonstrated that attitude change can be effected through behavior change. The current study involved a preliminary investigation of the power of a behavior intervention to reduce sexist attitudes in undergraduate males at a southeastern United States university. All participants (N = 43; 85.4 % Caucasian) completed measures for sexism and rape supportive attitudes, once from the perspective of the self and then from estimations of the “average male” in their groups. Participants (N = 23) in the behavior intervention critiqued sexist ideologies through verbal role playing and a written exercise, while participants in the control condition (N = 20) completed an assertiveness skills intervention and a written exercise. Two weeks later, all participants completed the same measures. Participants in the behavior intervention group showed a significant decrease in sexist attitudes (F (1, 41) = 4.55, p = .04) compared with control participants, demonstrating that a behavior intervention measurably reduces sexism in college men.


Sexism Rape supportive attitudes Behavior intervention 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Kilmartin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robin Semelsberger
    • 1
  • Sarah Dye
    • 1
  • Erin Boggs
    • 1
  • David Kolar
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Mary WashingtonFredericksburgUSA

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