Online Program

Aiming to Reduce Injury in College Students: Predictors of Sexual Violence Perpetration from an Ecological Perspective

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Christine Hackman, PhD, CHES, CSCS, Kinesiology, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
Stuart Usdan, PhD, Department of Health Science, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
David A. Birch, PhD, MCHES, Department of Health Science, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
James Leeper, PhD, College of Community Health Sciences / Department of Community & Rural Medicine, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Tricia Witte, PhD, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Adam Knowlden, CHES, MBA, MS, Ph.D., Department of Health Science, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Background:  The effects of sexual violence are devastating and far-reaching, as severe negative consequences to well-being are often experienced by survivors of sexual violence, while also having negative effects on their interpersonal relationships and the greater community.  Further, sexual violence is a significant public health issue on college campuses, as up to half of females and 30% of males report being victimized during college. Perpetrators of college sexual violence are often serial perpetrators who are most likely acquainted with their victims.  Having a better understanding of the risks and protective factors involved in perpetration through an ecological lens is imperative for effective sexual violence prevention programming aimed at reducing the incidence of sexual violence in college.  Purpose: The purpose was to identify intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational predictors of perpetration in a sample of undergraduate college students. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was completed by 677 undergraduate students in a large, public university in the Southeastern United States. Results: Approximately 4.3% (n=29) of participants reported perpetrating sexual violence since starting college.  In the binary logistic regression model, gender, binge drinking, previous victimization, rape myth acceptance, and perceived peer norms significantly predicted perpetration (R2=0.287).  Discussion: Previous victimization was the strongest predictor of perpetration, suggesting that prevention efforts may need to start at a younger age, and that previous victimization should be addressed as a factor in sexual violence in college programming.  Further, there is a need to address additional environmental risk factors that contribute to sexual violence perpetration.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify risk factors for sexual violence perpetration. Discuss implications for college health practitioners.

Keyword(s): Violence & Injury Prevention, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: my main research area is sexual assault prevention in college students. I have been conducting interpersonal violence research for several years, and am well-versed in the topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.