College Essay

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Psychology of Women Quarterly, 30 (2006), 173–186. Blackwell Publishing, Inc. Printed in the USA. Copyright C 2006 Division 35, American Psychological Association. 0361-6843/06 THE EVALUATION OF A SEXUAL ASSAULT SELF-DEFENSE AND RISK-REDUCTION PROGRAM FOR COLLEGE WOMEN: A PROSPECTIVE STUDY Christine A. Gidycz, Cindy L. Rich, Lindsay Orchowski, Carrie King, and Audrey K. Miller Ohio University The present study evaluated the efficacy of a sexual assault risk-reduction program that included a physical self-defense component for college women (N = 500). Program group women significantly increased their protective behaviors over the 6-month follow-up period compared to the waiting-list control group. However, there were no significant differences between the two groups regarding rates of sexual victimization, assertive communication, or feelings of self-efficacy over the follow-up periods. Program group women who were victimized during the 3-month follow-up period evidenced less self-blame and greater offender blame for their assaults than control group women who were victimized following the program. Given that program women evidenced a greater awareness of sexual assault at the end of the study than control group women, the difficulty in addressing the impact of programming on rates of sexual victimization is discussed. Sexual assault is pervasive on college campuses and has many negative ramifications for the individual as well as the university community. Although considerable research has documented the association between sexual victimization and a range of psychological (Thompson et al., 2003) and chronic medical conditions (Golding, 1994), the aftermath of sexual assault can also extend to the victim’s friends (Ahrens & Campbell, 2000), families (Burge, 1983), and those that support them within the university community (Wasco & Campbell, 2002). Almost

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