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Awarded Research Grant to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury

An Investigation of a Sexual Assault Prevention Program

FOA Number: CE06-004: Grants for Violence-Related Injury Prevention Research
Project Period: 9/1/2006 – 8/31/2009
Application/Grant Number: 1-R49-CE000923-01
Principal Investigator: Gidycz, Christine A.
Ohio University
Psychology Dept.
231 Porter Hall
Athens, OH 45701


The problem to be addressed in the proposed investigation is the high rates of sexual violence on college campuses. Typically, very brief psycho educational interventions have been administered to groups of men and women, often in a mixed-sex format. Despite the inherent problems with conducting mixed-sex and brief interventions, most efforts on college campuses have utilized this format. The purpose of the proposed project is to investigate a comprehensive sexual assault prevention program for men and women, utilizing theoretically-derived interventions administered in a single-sex format. Participants will be 1,200 college students (600 men and 600 women) living in dormitories on the campus of a mid-sized university. Dorms will be randomly assigned to either the intervention dorm or the waiting-list control dorm. Interventions for men will involve a program based on a social norms model of change and the women's intervention includes the teaching of self-defense and risk reduction strategies. It is hypothesized that the intervention group men will evidence positive attitude changes as they relate to the acceptance of sexual aggression, decreases in bystander behavior, a clearer understanding of consent, more prosocial behavioral intentions, and decreases in rates of sexual perpetration over a seven-month follow-up period compared to the waiting-list control group. For the women, it is hypothesized that they will evidence
greater assertiveness in responding to threatening situations, a better understanding of risky situations, greater use of protective behaviors, increases in self-efficacy, and experience lower rates of sexual victimization over a seven-month follow-up period compared to the control group women. Analyses will be conducted using Analyses of Variance and Regression techniques. If proven effective, the program can easily be disseminated to other universities throughout the country.