Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Katherine B. Novak


Rape myths persist among college students for a variety of reasons, and therefore rape remains a serious problem on college campuses. Past research has consistently shown that there is a relationship between traditional gender role attitudes and belief in rape myths. For example, Szymanski, Devlin, Chrisler, and Vyse (1993) found that men with traditional gender role attitudes believe in more rape myths. Studies suggest that traditional gender role attitudes have decreased as women have entered the work force , and that individuals who grow up in egalitarian households are less likely to hold traditional gender role attitudes. This study examines the extent to which growing up in an egalitarian family affects traditional gender role attitudes and the acceptance of rape myths. Gender differences in beliefs will also be examined. The data for this study was collected from 100 college students enroJled at a mid-sized private university using a self-administered questionnaire. This survey included the modified Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Inventory, the BEM sex role inventory, General Social Survey measures of gender role attitudes, as well as questions regarding family structure. It was found that students from egalitarian households were less likely to hold traditional gender role attitudes and were less accepting of rape myths. Furthermore, it was supported that gender role attitudes mediated the relationship between family context and the acceptance of rape myths.