The Prevalence of Rape Myths among Middle School Students across Gender and Socioeconomic Background


  • Melissa Dyehouse Purdue University
  • Mary Pilat Purdue University



A study designed to investigate the level and type of rape myths that are endorsed among middle school youth in terms of gender and socioeconomic background is reported in this paper. Participants were 582 seventh and eighth grade students who took part in Project Equality, a rape and sexual assault prevention curriculum that took place during eight, one and a half-hour sessions. The modified Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale was administered to students before and after Project Equality. Results indicate that males endorse higher levels of rape myth acceptance, both before and after the intervention, although the number of endorsed myths decreased. Rape myth endorsement decreased following the intervention among participants of differing socioeconomic backgrounds. Males and females showed lower levels of rape myth acceptance following the intervention. Implications include finding more effective ways to target male youth and that Project Equality works to lower rape myths among middle school youth. 






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