Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

O'Donohue, William T.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Sex crimes--Prevention; Empathy


The purpose of this study was to determine the differential efficacy of two programs designed to prevent rape, acquaintance rape, sexual harassment, and child sexual abuse. The question of whether empathy for victims of sexual assault can be taught and its effects on subjects7 potential to engage in sexually destructive behavior were explored. Two-hundred-sixteen male subjects volunteered to participate in the screening for this study. Of these, 68 were chosen as "high risk" for committing rape (as determined by their scores on the pretest measures). These subjects were randomly assigned to an empathy treatment, facts treatment, or a notreatment control group. An additional 18 "low risk" subjects were chosen as an additional control group. Treatment effects were assessed using subjects' scores pre- and post-treatment on the Likelihood of Sexually Abusing index, the Rape Empathy Scale, the Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence scale, the Adversarial Sexual Beliefs scale, and on a test of differential arousal to forced versus consenting sex. In addition, posttest scores on the "conformity" measure were compared among all three groups. Results indicate that when subjected to a methodologically appropriate examination, neither ABSTRACT treatment appeared to be more effective than no treatment. Implications for past and future research are explored.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 70-77)


124 pages




Northern Illinois University

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