Date of Award

Spring 2007

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Michelle L. Kelley

Committee Member

Barbara A. Winstead

Committee Member

Carryl L. Baldwin


Almost one out of every five women has been, or will have been, the victim of sexual aggression and/or rape in their lives (National Institute of Justice, 2000). This staggering statistic exemplifies the importance of speculating which traits are related to, or are predictive of, sexually aggressive behavior. Based on previous research, the current study investigated relationships between authoritarianism, hostility toward women, attitudes toward violence, and rape myth acceptance, as related sexual aggression in undergraduate men It was projected that authoritarianism, hostility toward women, attitudes toward violence, and rape myth acceptance would significantly and positively predict all dimensions of sexual aggression as measured by the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire including manipulative sexual behavior, coercive sexual behavior, sexual assault, attempted rape, rape, and fantasy rape.

Respondents were 67 male college students who attended a large public university in southeastern Virginia. Participants completed the Right-Wing Authoritarianism Scale (Altemeyer, 1981), the Hostility Toward Women Scale (Lonsway & Fitzgerald, 1995), the Attitudes Toward Violence Scale (Lonsway & Fitzgerald, 1995), the Rape Myth Acceptance Scale (Burt, 1980), the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire (Lisak & Roth, 1988; derived from the Sexual Experiences Survey, Koss & Oros, 1982), and a demographic information questionnaire.

Logistic regressions were performed to determine whether the aforementioned variables predicted men's endorsement of sexually aggressive behavior. Results of the logistic regressions revealed that rape myth acceptance was the only significant predictor of any subscale of sexual aggression examined. More specifically, rape myth acceptance significantly and positively predicted attempted rape, rape, and fantasy rape; therefore, beliefs about rape appear closely related to behaviors that constitute rape. Results of the study as well as strengths and limitations are discussed in detail.