Women's appraisals of sexual-assault risk in dating situations

Kelly L. Cue, William H. George, Jeanette Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


This study investigated how 165 female college students appraised their sexual-assault risk in a hypothetical dating situation. A 2 × 2 × 2 between-subjects experiment investigating the effects of male-dating-partner characteristics, story character beverage consumption, and perspective on women's risk appraisals was conducted. Multivariate analyses of variance were performed to test hypotheses regarding the feelings of the dating woman and the occurrence of sexual behaviors. Although the dating woman was rated as feeling more vulnerable on dates when alcohol was consumed, alcohol consumption did not influence ratings regarding the dating man committing nonconsensual sexual acts. Nonconsensual sexual behaviors were rated as more probable when the man had rape-congruent characteristics and when the participants were judging another woman rather than themselves. These findings suggest that women are partially accurate in making sexual-assault risk appraisals and thus may benefit from rape prevention education that specifically targets their inaccuracies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-504
Number of pages18
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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