Methods: We conducted secondary analysis of online survey data from self-identified cisgender, heterosexual (cishet) men (N=224840) who completed a pretest as part of participation in a sexual assault prevention program delivered to a large number of universities across the United States. We focus on cishet men as this group comprises the majority of perpetrators across campus and community samples. Respondents reported whether they perpetrated assault prior to their campus arrival. Respondents were asked a series of likert-scale questions measuring values, attitudes, and beliefs related to campus sexual assault, for which higher scores indicated healthier responses. Demographic data included the student’s intended involvement in a variety of campus groups. Three subscales emerged from the survey: 1) consent and responsibility (10 items, alpha=0.901), 2) bystander self-efficacy (4 items, alpha=0.828), and 3) perception of campus norms (5 items, alpha=0.849). A dichotomous variable was created for respondents’ involvement in high risk school groups. A separate dichotomous variable indicated pre-college perpetration. 4.2% of respondents answered that they didn’t know or preferred not to respond to perpetration questions; these types of answers were counted as “no” responses. Logistic regression examined associations between pre-campus perpetration, scale scores, and high-risk group involvement after adjusting for race. Because of the large sample size, we used p< .001 as the threshold for statistical significance.
Results: After controlling for race, lower scores on the consent and responsibility scale predict perpetration (p<0.001). Perpetrators did not significantly differ from non-perpetrators on bystander self-efficacy at the .001 level (p=0.004) or beliefs about social norms (p=0.885). Association with high-risk campus groups was significantly associated with perpetration (p<0.001).
Conclusions and Implications: Our results support consent education interventions early in the school year for male pre-college perpetrators. These interventions become especially pertinent for high-risk campus groups. Future research should examine college perpetration trajectories and associated changes in risk factors. Our further analyses will explore risk in those who declined to answer the perpetration question directly.