Term of Award

Winter 2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Amy A. Hackney

Committee Member 1

Thresa Yancey

Committee Member 2

Karen Naufel


Sexual assault is a complex problem, and there is no set of best practices for sexual assault prevention and education programs. Social norms marketing and expectancy violations, however, have been proposed to be influential factors that may aid in increasing prosocial attitudes related to sexual assault. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential effect of social norm feedback and expectancy violations on attitudes related to sexual assault and bystander intervention. Participants in the study included 244 undergraduate and graduate students who completed an experiment embedded in an online survey. Results indicated that there were no significant effects of expectancy violation or social norm feedback on participants’ bystander attitudes, perceptions of peers’ bystander attitudes, behavioral intent to help, or acceptance of rape myths. Overall, bystander attitudes were significantly associated with perceptions of peers’ bystander attitudes and rape myth acceptance. The results also revealed some unique correlational patterns between bystander attitudes, perceptions of peers’ bystander attitudes, and rape myth acceptance within each level of the independent variable. Theoretical and practical implications for these findings are discussed in detail.