Term of Award

Summer 2016

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Amy Hackney

Committee Member 1

Nick Holtzman

Committee Member 2

Jeff Klibert

Committee Member 3

Ishtar Govia

Committee Member 3 Email



College-aged women are within the highest risk group of women (18 to 25 years old) to experience sexual assault. Nineteen percent of college women report experiencing attempted or completed sexual assault during their four years of college (Krebs, Linquist, Warner, Fisher, & Martin, 2009). It is estimated that 20 to 25% of college women will experience an attempted or completed sexual assault during college (American College Health Association, 2008). The primary sexual assault prevention method on college campuses has been in the form of education (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2004) with an emphasis on debunking commonly held false attitudes and beliefs about rape, or “rape myths,” that historically blame victims and vindicate perpetrators of sexual assault (Brownmiller, 1975; Burt, 1980). The use of rape myth acceptance (RMA) measures has played an important role in sexual assault research. Measurement problems in older RMA measures, however, have been noted, (Gerger, Kley, Bohner, & Siebler, 2007) making it unclear how accurately older RMA measures are capturing RMA levels. The Acceptance of Modern Myths about Sexual Aggression (AMMSA) scale, a newer measure, offers more robust psychometric properties than older RMA measures that may serve to improve the efficacy of campus sexual assault prevention interventions. The primary purpose of this study was to explore the psychometric properties of the AMMSA scale with a Southeastern U.S. college sample. The secondary purpose of the study was to compare levels of RMA between female sexual assault victims and non-victims and to examine whether the associations between RMA and sociocultural attitudes depend upon victimization status. Participants in the study included 367 undergraduate students who anonymously completed an online survey. Results indicated that the AMMSA scale demonstrates good psychometric properties. Female victims and non-victims scored similarly in RMA and sociocultural attitudes. Multiple regression analyses indicated that the relationships between the AMMSA scale and the sociocultural variables did not depend upon victimization status. This study provides important implications for researchers conducting sexual assault prevention research and for clinicians working with victims and their families.