Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Helping survivors of sexual assault: The role of general and event-specific empathy
by Stephens, Michelle R., M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2013, 115; 1527418
Abstract (Summary)

One in four college aged women have been raped or sexually assaulted. The InterACT Sexual Assault Prevention Program offers promise as an effective intervention for rape prevention, intervention, and response training. Several bystander interventions, including InterACT, regard empathy as a crucial component of successful rape prevention efforts.

Theoretical foundations for the link between empathy and prosocial behavior are well established; however, the link between rape-specific empathy and rape-specific prosocial behavior has received less attention until recently. Experimental evaluations confirmed InterACT is successful in increasing general and rape-specific empathy among participants.

Limited research has identified emotional and cognitive components responsible for motivating rape helping behaviors. The current study is the first to empirically identify rape-specific empathy as a significant predictor of rape-specific helping behavior. Such evidence urges rape prevention programs to include rape-specific empathy exercises in intervention designs. Implications for continued research and programming are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ahrens, Courtney
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 52/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Womens studies
Keywords: Bystander, Empathy, Intervention, Morality, Prosocial, Rape prevention, Survivors
Publication Number: 1527418
ISBN: 978-1-303-76693-0
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