Sexual assault is a substantial problem among women in the United States, especially among college women. Colleges and universities have implemented sexual assault prevention initiatives to combat the high rates of assault. Sexual assault prevention efforts geared toward college students have focused on educating students to obtain consent as a mechanism to reduce rates of assault, yet little is known about how college students conceptualize or communicate consent and there are currently no measures available to assess students’ consent to sex. The current study aimed to better understand college students’ conceptualizations of sexual consent as well as to utilize a systematic approach in the development of validated measures to assess sexual consent during a sexual encounter. This study integrated mixed methods to better understand consent and develop measures of consent via two waves of data collection. First, qualitative data was collected to better understand how students define consent and indicate their consent and non-consent during a sexual encounter. The qualitative data was also used as a foundation for measure development. Next, the qualitative data was coded and used to provide a framework for item writing in order to drive the design of quantitative measures aimed at assessing sexual consent. A quantitative survey was then administered to college students which included the newly written items developed from the qualitative data. The newly written items were subsequently assessed for their psychometric properties. Results from the qualitative data indicated gender differences in how college students communicate consent and non-consent with women relying more on verbal cues and men relying more on non-verbal cues. Such findings may have important implications for designing more effective sexual assault prevention education programming. Findings from the quantitative survey resulted in two measures of consent (one assessing internal feelings towards consent; the second assessing external behavioral or verbal indicators of consent), with high internal consistency reliability, and five factors each. Such findings provide important contributions to the field of sexuality as these measures can be used in future research to better understand sexual consent and the contextual factors that may impact consent.
|Commitee:||Dennis, Barbara, Peterson, Zoe, Sanders, Stephanie|
|Department:||School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation|
|School Location:||United States -- Indiana|
|Source:||DAI-B 72/10, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Behavioral psychology, Public health, Gender studies|
|Keywords:||College students, Gender, Masculinity and femininity, Sexual consent, Sexual health, Women's health|
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