COGNITIVE STYLE AND ATTITUDINAL CORRELATES OF THE PERCEIVED CAUSES OF RAPE SCALE

Authors


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Gloria Cowan, Department of Psychology, California State University, San Bernardino, CA 92407. E-mail: gcowan@wiley.csusb.edu.

Abstract

This study examines the relations between beliefs about the causes of rape and attitudinal and cognitive style (the tendency to think about social problems systemically, the view of people as complex and changeable, and an intellectual personality) measures in a sample of 270 community-college students. The Perceived Causes of Rape (PCR) Scale included the following subscales: Male Dominance, Society and Socialization, Female Precipitation, Male Sexuality, and Male Hostility. Beliefs about the causes of rape varied on three dimensions: individual versus sociocultural causes of rape, those causes that focus on the perpetrator versus those that focus on the victim, and rape myths versus feminist beliefs. The causes of rape identified as rape myths were associated with male sexuality stereotypes, a version of Burt's (1980) Rape Myth Acceptance Scale, attitudes toward feminism, and self-identification as a feminist. Agreement with the sociocultural causes of rape was associated with cognitive style measures and age. We suggest that belief in sociocultural causes of rape may require a predisposition to think systemically as much as an ideological stance.

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