Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Brent Mallinckrodt

Committee Members

Priscilla Blanton, Gina Owens, Dawn Szymanski


This study investigated individual characteristics of college men (N = 90) that predicted the magnitude of their response to an empirically supported intervention designed to increase empathy and increase rejection of rape myths. The Men’s Program (Foubert, 2005) is a recorded peer education intervention that is designed to increase empathy in viewers through a vivid description of a male on male rape scene involving a police officer to increase empathy for rape survivors. The video then draws parallels between the officer’s experience of rape and the experience of women rape survivors and offers ways that men can help survivors. Measures used included Big 5 mini-markers (Saucier, 1994), Inventory of Interpersonal Problems-Short Form (Soldz, Budman, Demby, & Merry, 1995), Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory Short Form (Mahalik et al., 2003), Interpersonal Reactivity Inventory (Davis, 1980), Rape Myth Acceptance Scale (Burt, 1980), and Balanced Inventory of Desired Responding (Paulhus, 1984). A one session intervention that involved viewing the videotape, but no discussion afterward, produced significant change in levels of perspective taking, empathic concern, personal distress, and rape myth rejection. Partial correlations were used to determine the unique association between predictor and outcome variables. Extroversion and emotional stability was significantly associated with increased perspective taking capacity. Attachment avoidance was significantly associated with diminished empathic concern capacity. The tendency to be interpersonally cold was associated with decreased personal distress, while being non-assertive and open to experience was associated with an increased level of personal distress. The tendency to be overly nurturing was associated with increased myth rejection, while the tendency to be intrusive was associated with decreased rape myth rejection. However, hierarchical multiple regressions for perspective taking, empathic concern, and rape myth rejection were not significant. Intervention considerations based on these findings are included.

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