Date of Award

Spring 1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

James A. Nolan

Committee Member

Otto C. Sampson

Committee Member

Carole L. Seyfrit

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 M56


The purpose of this thesis is to examine the concept of rape and factors which influence the definition of rape. A survey consisting of demographic and attitudinal questions and rape scenarios was administered to college students at two middle-sized universities in the southeast. The results indicate that as the level of intimacy between the victim and the rapist increases the likelihood of a situation being defined as a rape decreases. In this study religion and political attitudes were two independent variables which did not influence the definition of rape while race, gender, relationships with women, and attitudes toward women were found to influence the definition of rape. The present research shows that, indeed, the term rape still needs to be clearly and concisely defined particularly when the man and woman are dating or married to each other.


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