Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Alida V. Merlo, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

W. Timothy Austin, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Bitna Kim, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Shannon Womer Phaneuf, Ph.D.


The study examines influential factors of rape myth acceptance among 615 college students. Research suggests that the rate for sexual assault in the United States can range from 5% to 22% of the female population (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000; Kilpatrick, Best, Veronen, Amick, Villeponteaux, & Ruff, 1985; Mustaine & Tewksbury, 2002; Russell, 1984; Sorenson, Stein, Siegel, Golding, & Burnam, 1987; Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998; 2006). Historically, the sexual assault rates for college women are three times greater than women in the general population (Koss & Gidycz, 1985). A common method for rape prevention, especially on college campuses, is to dispel rape myths that individuals hold about rape victims, rapists, and situations surrounding rape. The current study identifies which factors are the most influential in rape myth acceptance among a sample of college students. Based on the findings, recommendations for prevention programs and policies are discussed. The results of the study can inform future research and add to the current literature.