Community College Athletes and Non-Athletes: An Examination of Social Status Characteristics, Rape Supportive Attitudes, and Beliefs

Cathryn Lavery, City University of New York

In recent years there have been several high-profile media cases that focus on acts of sexual assault on college campuses by athletes. These cases do not include other reported cases or unreported crimes. Since 1990, steps have been taken to try to remedy negative sexual, prejudicial, exploitive, and criminal behavior against women by athletes, but the problem still exists. This research project looks at correlations between athletic membership, status, and attitudes on rape and sexual aggression. The decision to evaluate and study the athletic population at the community college level was based on the lack of information on athletes at this level; and the application of status theory and whether status traits of athletes differ significantly from those students with no athletic affiliation. The results of this project will hopefully further research in the areas of athletes and sexual violence. Results could lead to: different types of programming for sexual assault programs on college campuses, help guide administrators in handling complaints and cases; and create better educational formats which focus on addressing pre-existing attitudinal and belief systems that encourage violence against women.

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Updated 05/20/2006