Anthony, E. R. (2013). "Using Q methodology to explore college students' conceptualizations of sexual consent." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 74(4-B(E)): No Pagination Specified.
The high prevalence of sexual violence warrants continued research into its prevention. Understanding consensual sexual experiences holds promise for sexual violence prevention; however, sexual consent is a surprisingly understudied phenomenon. Existing research focuses on the tactics used to coerce consent and the ways in which college students initiate and indicate consent. Research that begins to articulate a theory of consent may help engineer situations antithetical to sexually violent experiences. This study is a first step toward that objective. This paper presents findings from an exploratory research study on college students' conceptualizations of sexual consent. The purpose of this study was twofold: To investigate how college students define consent and to understand how context influences the consent process. To explore these research questions, quantitative and qualitative data were collected using Q methodology. Exploratory factor analysis revealed two groups of college students who conceptualize consent differently. One group focuses on the importance of consent to rape prevention, the other to healthy sexuality promotion. Qualitative interview data suggest contextual variables such as definition of consent and relationship type influence consent to a lesser extent than alcohol use, personal sexual experience, discrepant levels of sexual experience between partners, and feelings for a potential sexual partner. Results support replacing the current model of consent, in which consent is a contractual obligation between sexual partners, with one of sexual communication, where consent is woven into a broader conversation about healthy sexuality. The strengths and limitations of doing so are discussed and directions for future intervention research are presented.
Borges, A. M., et al. (2008). "Clarifying consent: Primary prevention of sexual assault on a college campus." Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community 36(1-2): 75-88.
Although more universities are developing policies for students regarding consent for sexual behavior in response to the problem of sexual violence on campus, many students seem either unaware of these policies or what they mean for actual behavior. Policies are only as effective as peoples' understanding and use of them. The current study aimed to evaluate the utility of a prevention education program focused on teaching students about consent. Two hundred and twenty undergraduates, composing a control group, a shorter treatment group, and a longer one, participated in the study. The findings showed the greatest knowledge gain for participants in the longer treatment group that included a discussion of the policy and participation in an activity dealing with its implications. Implications and future research directions are discussed.
Hickman, S. E. (1998). "Young women's and men's perceptions of sexual consent in heterosexual situations." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 59(3-B): 1368.
In 1990, Antioch College developed mutual sexual consent guidelines because of a concern that gender-based miscommunication about consent can lead to rape. The guidelines generated intense public discussion about the nature of sexual consent. Little is known about how women and men convey and infer sexual consent, however, because most research on sexual communications has focused on signals used to initiate and refuse sexual activity rather than on consent. In this study, 378 undergraduate women and men completed a questionnaire designed to examine how they convey and infer consent in heterosexual situations. Participants were asked to imagine themselves in two scenarios in which they or their partner initiated sex verbally or nonverbally. They were then asked to rate how representative each of 34 signals were of their dates' consent (date-consent ratings) and of their own consent (self-consent ratings) to sexual intercourse. They were also asked how frequently they used each of these signals to indicate their sexual consent in actual situations. Participants' ratings of the meaning of their dates' signals and their own signals were factor analyzed, and six types of signals emerged: direct verbal, indirect verbal, direct nonverbal, indirect nonverbal, statements about intoxication, and a direct refusal. There was some evidence of gender differences in perceptions of consent that could lead to miscommunications: men's date-consent ratings were slightly but significantly higher than women's self-consent ratings. Women's date-consent ratings were slightly but significantly lower than men's self-consent ratings. Women and men also reported some differences in the ways in which they convey consent in actual situations. The results of this study suggest that gender-based miscommunications about consent are possible but not inevitable. Although men do view their behavior and their dates' behavior somewhat more sexually than do women, women and men do not have diametrically opposed views of what constitutes sexual consent. Thus, miscommunication is an unlikely explanation for rape. Rape prevention educators should stress that women and men are responsible for obtaining consent from their partner, and that miscommunication is an unacceptable excuse for rape.
Jozkowski, K. N. (2012). "Measuring internal and external conceptualizations of sexual consent: A mixed-methods exploration of sexual consent." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 72(10-B): 5921.
Sexual assault is a substantial problem among women in the United States, especially among college women. Colleges and universities have implemented sexual assault prevention initiatives to combat the high rates of assault. Sexual assault prevention efforts geared toward college students have focused on educating students to obtain consent as a mechanism to reduce rates of assault, yet little is known about how college students conceptualize or communicate consent and there are currently no measures available to assess students' consent to sex. The current study aimed to better understand college students' conceptualizations of sexual consent as well as to utilize a systematic approach in the development of validated measures to assess sexual consent during a sexual encounter. This study integrated mixed methods to better understand consent and develop measures of consent via two waves of data collection. First, qualitative data was collected to better understand how students define consent and indicate their consent and non-consent during a sexual encounter. The qualitative data was also used as a foundation for measure development. Next, the qualitative data was coded and used to provide a framework for item writing in order to drive the design of quantitative measures aimed at assessing sexual consent. A quantitative survey was then administered to college students which included the newly written items developed from the qualitative data. The newly written items were subsequently assessed for their psychometric properties. Results from the qualitative data indicated gender differences in how college students communicate consent and non-consent with women relying more on verbal cues and men relying more on non-verbal cues. Such findings may have important implications for designing more effective sexual assault prevention education programming. Findings from the quantitative survey resulted in two measures of consent (one assessing internal feelings towards consent; the second assessing external behavioral or verbal indicators of consent), with high internal consistency reliability, and five factors each. Such findings provide important contributions to the field of sexuality as these measures can be used in future research to better understand sexual consent and the contextual factors that may impact consent.
Jozkowski, K. N. and Z. D. Peterson (2013). "Assessing the Validity and Reliability of the Perceptions of the Consent to Sex Scale." J Sex Res.
Although sexual assault prevention education tends to focus on consent promotion as a means to reduce rates of sexual assault, little is known about how college students consent to sexual activity. The current study aimed to better understand college students' consent via the systematic development of the Consent to Sex Scale (CSS), utilizing mixed methods via three phases and two waves of data collection. In Phase 1, qualitative data were collected from college students (n = 185) to provide a foundation for item writing. In Phase 2, closed-ended items were written for a quantitative instrument and reviewed by a team of experts. In Phase 3, a quantitative survey, including items written in Phase 2, was administered to college students (n = 685); the measure was assessed for its psychometric properties. Exploratory factor analysis was utilized, resulting in a five-factor solution. The CSS and corresponding factors demonstrated high internal consistency reliability and expected gender differences, supporting the construct validity of the measure. The CSS assesses college students' cues for indicating consent to sex, a construct not addressed by previous measures. The validated scale may be useful in future research to better understand how consent relates to other behaviors or constructs.
Jozkowski, K. N. and Z. D. Peterson (2013). "College students and sexual consent: Unique insights." Journal of Sex Research 50(6): 517-523.
Sexual assault continues to be a salient health concern, especially among college women. Because assault is often defined in terms of consent, prevention efforts hinge on promoting the definition and the obtainment of consent as a mechanism to reduce assault. Despite the focus on consent promotion, research specifically examining consent in general and among college students specifically is limited. College students (n = 185) were recruited to participate in an open-ended survey in which they were asked to report how they indicated consent and interpreted their partners' consent to engage in a range of sexual behaviors. Content analysis was utilized to qualitatively analyze responses. In the current study, data were assessed for emerging themes across all items. In examining participants' responses, four distinct themes emerged: (a) endorsement of the traditional sexual script; (b) women are responsible for performing oral sex; (c) men's consent to sex can be aggressive; and (d) men utilize deception to obtain consent to sex. Findings suggest that men are conceptualized as sexual initiators and women as sexual gatekeepers, and that men's sexual pleasure is primary whereas women's experience of pleasure is secondary. Findings articulate the need for more pointed research aimed at assessing sexual consent among college students.
Jozkowski, K. N., et al. (2013). "Gender Differences in Heterosexual College Students' Conceptualizations and Indicators of Sexual Consent: Implications for Contemporary Sexual Assault Prevention Education." J Sex Res.
Because sexual assault is often defined in terms of nonconsent, many prevention efforts focus on promoting the clear communication of consent as a mechanism to reduce assault. Yet little research has specifically examined how sexual consent is being conceptualized by heterosexual college students. In this study, 185 Midwestern U.S. college students provided responses to open-ended questions addressing how they define, communicate, and interpret sexual consent and nonconsent. The study aimed to assess how college students define and communicate consent, with particular attention to gender differences in consent. Results indicated no gender differences in defining consent. However, there were significant differences in how men and women indicated their own consent and nonconsent, with women reporting more verbal strategies than men and men reporting more nonverbal strategies than women, and in how they interpreted their partner's consent and nonconsent, with men relying more on nonverbal indicators of consent than women. Such gender differences may help to explain some misunderstandings or misinterpretations of consent or agreement to engage in sexual activity, which could partially contribute to the occurrence of acquaintance rape; thus, a better understanding of consent has important implications for developing sexual assault prevention initiatives.
Jozkowski, K. N., et al. (2014). "Consenting to sexual activity: The development and psychometric assessment of dual measures of consent." Archives of Sexual Behavior Jan(Pagination): No Pagination Specified.
Sexual assault prevention efforts have focused on educating students to obtain consent as a mechanism to reduce sexual assault, yet little is known about how college students consent to sex. Additionally, there are currently no measures available to assess students' consent to sex. The current study aimed to better understand college students consent by using a systematic approach to develop validated measures of sexual consent. This study integrated mixed methods via three phases and two waves of data collection to develop two measures of consent. In Phase 1, qualitative data were collected from college students (n = 185) to inform the design of quantitative measures aimed at assessing sexual consent at last sexual intercourse. In Phase 2, items were written for the closed-ended quantitative instrument and reviewed by a team of experts, educators, and clinicians. In Phase 3, a quantitative survey was administered to college students (n = 660) which included the measures of consent developed from the Phase 1 data; the measures were assessed for their psychometric properties. Exploratory factor analyses were utilized to assess the measures and resulted in five factors each for both consent scales. Both scales had high internal consistency reliability, showed gender differences, and showed differences across relationship status (single vs. in a relationship). The two newly developed measures assess unique constructs of consent and demonstrate assessments of specific concepts. Our findings provide an important contribution to the field of sexuality as these measures can be used in future research to better understand sexual consent.
Littleton, H. L., et al. (2006). "Priming of consensual and nonconsensual sexual scripts: An experimental test of the role of scripts in rape attributions." Sex Roles 54(7-8): 557-563.
Individuals do not often label incidents of forced intercourse as rape. We theorize that one reason this occurs is because incidents do not match individuals' rape script; instead, these incidents may be more consistent with their normative sexual scripts, such as seduction. We conducted an experimental test of this theory by priming consensual and nonconsensual sexual scripts and examining the impact of the priming on reactions to an ambiguous sexual scenario among a sample of college women (n = 210). The priming manipulation affected global ratings of the scenario as well as ratings of the motives of the characters in the scenario. We discuss implications of the results for future research on how individuals conceptualize incidents of forced sex, as well as their implications for rape prevention and outreach.
Winslett, A. H. (2009). "Discussion of sexual consent: The influence of a woman's clearly articulated sexual boundary on college students' reponses to a date rape scenario." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 70(5-B): 3193.
The impact of a woman providing a clearly articulated sexual boundary early in a sexual interaction on college men's and women's discrimination of male inappropriate sexual behavior in a date rape scenario was examined. One hundred sixty six male and female college students from a Southeastern US public university participated. A 2 (stated sexual boundary vs. no stated boundary condition) by 2 (sex) design was used to evaluate the effect of a woman's clearly stated sexual boundary and sex of participant on ability to detect when sexual advances should cease in a date rape scenario. As predicted, participants who did not hear the discussion of sexual boundaries took longer than participants who heard the sexual boundary discussion to determine that the man on the recording should cease sexual advances, but a significant difference was not observed between men and women. A significant effect was observed for social desirability on responding. Men's sexual aggression history was not related to time required to signal that the man on the recording should stop sexual advances. In females, a large portion of the sample reported experiencing some degree of sexual victimization. As expected, history of sexual victimization was correlated with response latency, such that women who had been sexually victimized in the past tended to take longer than nonvictims to determine that the man should stop sexual advances in the date rape scenario. Overall, participants reported a negative view of a university mandated sexual consent policy requiring verbal consent for each specific sexual act, but unexpectedly, attitudes toward such a policy were not correlated with response latencies. Rape myth acceptance and general attitudes toward violence also were not correlated with ability to detect inappropriate sexual advances in a date rape scenario. The implications of the results on the rape prevention programs, including education of proactive assertive communication of sexual boundaries are discussed. Limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are presented.