Date of Award

Summer 1999

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Director

Barbara Winstead

Committee Member

Barbara Cubic

Committee Member

Leonard Holmes

Committee Member

Robin Lewis

Committee Member

Janis Sanchez-Hucles


It is estimated that a quarter to a third of women will be sexually assaulted in some way over the course of their lifetimes. Ozer and Bandura (1990) sought to study the ability of a mastery model self defense program for women to increase women's self efficacy about their ability to prevent assault. They found significant changes for all dependent variables used in their study at posttest and at a six month follow-up. The current study sought to compare their findings to those found using a mastery model self defense program for both genders and a vicarious model self defense program for women only.

Three groups were used in this study: a martial arts based self defense program for both men and women (N = 27), the Rape Aggression Defense Systems (RADS) program, a nationwide self defense program for women (N = 33), and a comparison group drawn from university undergraduate women (N = 3 1). Participants in the treatment groups were assessed at the beginning of the first class and at the end of the last class on a variety of measures of self-efficacy, behavior, anxiety, risk assessment, and sexual assault history. The comparison group was assessed twice with a six week time period between measurements.

Results revealed that both treatment groups showed a significantly increase in their self defense self-efficacy, interpersonal self-efficacy, and activity self-efficacy over the course of treatment and a significant decrease in the assessment of risk to women in general. No significant change occurred on other dependent variables. The comparison group evidenced a significant increase in interpersonal self efficacy. An examination of predictive variables for behavior sought to replicate the path structure found by Ozer and Bandura (1990) and was unable to do so completely. It appears that Ozer and Bandura's (1990) findings may not generalize to other self defense programs and participants. However, both martial arts type self defense classes and the RADS program appeared to be successful in raising the self-efficacy of college-age women around personal safety issues, at least in the short-term.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.