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ERIC Number: EJ885738
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-0022-006X
Cognitive Processes Underlying Women's Risk Judgments: Associations with Sexual Victimization History and Rape Myth Acceptance
Yeater, Elizabeth A.; Treat, Teresa A.; Viken, Richard J.; McFall, Richard M.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, v78 n3 p375-386 Jun 2010
Objective: This study evaluated the effects of sexual victimization history, rape myth acceptance, implicit attention, and recent learning on the cognitive processes underlying undergraduate women's explicit risk judgments. Method: Participants were 194 undergraduate women between 18 and 24 years of age. The sample was ethnically diverse and composed primarily of freshman, heterosexual, and single women. Stimuli were written vignettes describing social situations that varied on dimensions of sexual victimization risk and potential impact on women's popularity. Participants completed cognitive tasks assessing relative attention to victimization risk versus popularity impact, learning about either risk or popularity impact, and explicit classification of victimization risk. Participants then completed the Sexual Experiences Survey (SES) and the Rape Myth Acceptance Scale; SES responses were used to quantify the severity of victimization experiences. Results: More severe victimization history predicted use of higher thresholds for judging situations as risky, as well as lower sensitivity to risk and greater sensitivity to popularity impact when judging risk. Greater rape myth acceptance also predicted lower sensitivity to risk information. Higher relative attention to victimization risk predicted greater sensitivity to risk information when judging risk. Recent learning about either the risk or the popularity impact aspects of social situations modified sensitivity to risk versus popularity when making risk judgments. Conclusion: The study emphasizes the importance of distinguishing the threshold for judging situations as risky from sensitivity to risk-relevant information in understanding individual differences in women's risk judgments. Both processes may be important to consider when developing interventions to reduce women's risk for sexual victimization. (Contains 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Sexual Experiences Survey