Rape myth acceptance, sexual trauma history, and posttraumatic stress disorder

J Interpers Violence. 2010 Nov;25(11):2036-53. doi: 10.1177/0886260509354506. Epub 2010 Jan 11.


The prediction of false rape-related beliefs (rape myth acceptance [RMA]) was examined using the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale (Payne, Lonsway, & Fitzgerald, 1999) among a nonclinical sample of 258 male and female college students. Predictor variables included measures of attitudes toward women, gender role identity (GRI), sexual trauma history, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity. Using linear regression and testing interaction effects, negative attitudes toward women significantly predicted greater RMA for individuals without a sexual trauma history. However, neither attitudes toward women nor GRI were significant predictors of RMA for individuals with a sexual trauma history. PTSD did not moderate RMA's relationship with attitudes toward women and GRI. This study has clinical implications for treatment as well as for the development of rape myth-dispelling programs.

MeSH terms

  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Illinois
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Prejudice*
  • Rape / psychology*
  • Social Perception*
  • Stereotyping
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Students / psychology*