The impact of commitment on risk recognition in sexually violent dating relationships
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This thesis examined the influence of personal- and relationship-level variables on women's ability to recognize risk of sexual assault. Using the investment model as theoretical grounding, the study sought to advance the literature by investigating how relationship commitment might affect women's responses to the risk of sexual assault perpetrated by an intimate partner. The study began by measuring women's length of time spent in their current dating relationship and degree of commitment to their dating partner. Participants were asked to take the perspective of the female in the Marx and Gross (1995) audio task, and respond as if the situation was really happening to them. They were asked to determine when they believed the man in the audio (i.e., imagining the man as their partner) should stop his advances. Based on this methodology, the study investigated how time spent in a relationship and commitment to a current dating relationship might uniquely influence participants' latency in the Marx and Gross (1995) audio task. Women's victimization history and level of rape myth acceptance were also examined as predictors of risk recognition. Study hypotheses were not supported. Explanations for the null results found in this study are explored.