Sexual Violence Prevention Among Intercollegiate Athletes, Recreational Athletes, and Non-Athletes: Environmental Considerations for Program Interventions


  • James Evans University of North Alabama
  • Leeann Lower-Hoppe The Ohio State University
  • Kristy McCray Otterbein University
  • Shea Brgoch Western Kentucky University
  • Ashley Ryder Catawba College
  • Brian Burkhard Vector Solutions



sexual violence prevention education, socio-ecological model, personal social norms, campus social norms, bystander efficacy


Previous research has suggested that individual, social, and environmental factors all play a role in developing individual attitudes regarding sexual violence. On college campuses, both intercollegiate and recreational athletics provide opportunities for students to engage in group settings that can impact these attitudes. The primary purpose of this study was to examine how attitudes towards sexual violence compared across intercollegiate athlete, recreational athlete, and non-athlete populations, while accounting for other individual and school factors. Analysis of a large national dataset found very small but statistically significant differences among these groups in their personal social norms, campus social norms, and bystander efficacy regarding sexual violence. Intercollegiate athletes were slightly lower than non-athletes in their personal social norms and bystander efficacy and slightly higher in their perceived campus social norms, while recreational athletes were higher in bystander efficacy, but lower in personal and campus social norms. Other personal demographic factors, including gender identity and sexual orientation, were also significant, while most campus factors were non-significant. These findings suggest the identification of college sport as an at-risk community for sexual violence may be an oversimplification, with implications for program intervention design.


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