Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Rape is a violent crime. Myths and misconceptions surrounding it only further its injustice. Many victims, especially college students, don't report the crime because they fear police officers' attitudes towards them. Research by the FBI has shown that police officers as a whole are more understanding of the rape victim than is society in general. This experiment assesses the different attitudes of college students and police officers in two different cities (Helena and Kalispell) toward women as rape victims by means of a rape attitude survey. Each individual's scores were totalled and the two test groups for each city compared using an independent sample t-test. There was not a significant difference between the attitude scores of the two Helena groups or the two Kalispell groups. However, there was a significant difference in attitude scores as a combined function of occupation and sex of the respondent using the one-way ANOVA test: Police officers (Helena and Kalispell Police Departments combined) had significantly more empathetic attitude scores than college students (Carroll College and Flathead Valley Community College combined) did.

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