Fear of Violent Crime Among Men and Women on Campus: The Impact of Perceived Risk and Fear of Sexual Assault


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Abstract

Prior research has consistently shown that women are more afraid of crime than men despite the fact that men are much more likely to be victims of all crime except sexual assault and intimate partner violence. The “shadow of sexual assault” hypothesis argues that women's fear of sexual assault shadows their fear of other types of crime, particularly violent crime. Building on prior research by Ferraro (1996) and Fisher and Sloan (2003), this study examines the individual and combined impact of perceived risk and fear of sexual assault on fear of robbery and assault among college students. Findings indicate that fear of sexual assault is the stronger predictor of fear of crime for women and that perceived risk is the stronger predictor for men.

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