The Role of Men’s Beliefs in Shaping Their Response to a Sexual Violence Prevention Program

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Sexual violence prevention programs typically treat participants as roughly interchangeable, with a one-size-fits-all format. Adding to a growing body of research on men’s individual differences, this study utilized cluster analysis to group college men (N = 266) according to four pretest rape-related concerns: (a) personal legal concerns regarding accusations of rape, (b) sexual communication concerns, (c) the view that rape laws are unfair to men, and (d) personal concerns that alcohol may result in unintentional rape. Meaningful differences between clusters in rape myth acceptance and self-reported likelihood of raping emerged at pre- and posttest, as well as in amount of pre- to posttest change. Despite showing the greatest amount of change from pre- to posttest, the cluster of men characterized by all four concerns maintained the highest rape myth acceptance and self-reported likelihood of raping scores relative to the other clusters across time. This exploratory study lays the groundwork for future studies to directly evaluate whether measuring and addressing men’s rape-related concerns may eventually allow for more targeted and effective sexual violence prevention programs.

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