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Population and Subgroup Differences in the Prevalence and Predictors of Campus Sexual Assault to Inform Preventive Interventions

Statement of the Problem: The overall high prevalence rate of sexual assault on U.S. college campuses has prompted the development of policies and programs to prevent campus sexual assault. Yet, vast discrepancies exist in available prevalence data. Furthermore, research on the predictors of campus sexual assault has been confined to small, non-representative samples that limit exploration of how rates and patterns of victimization and perpetration vary across contexts and among population subgroups, such as sexual, gender, and racial minority students. Our study uses data from the Haven Online Campus Sexual Assault Prevention program to conduct a more in-depth investigation of the prevalence and predictors of sexual assault victimization and perpetration across college campuses. The scope and scale of the data will allow us to examine and generalize findings about the intersection of contexts and behaviors, as well as the vulnerabilities in students at higher risk for sexual assault. Research Design and Methods: The Haven data includes survey responses from a demographically diverse, national sample of over 2 million college students, across four academic years (2016-2020). The data include highly practice relevant measures of social norms, attitudes and bystander variables, as well as measures of both victimization and perpetration. Prospective power analyses demonstrate our ability to examine underrepresented subgroups with sufficient power. We will examine variation in school-level prevalence of sexual assault victimization and perpetration by school characteristics and student subgroup differences (gender identity, sexual orientation, race). This study will also assess the relationship between attitudes and perceptions of campus norms and self-reports of sexual assault victimization and perpetration, including variations in this relationship by student subgroups. Finally, we will examine variation in bystander intentions, efficacy, and behaviors and self-reports of sexual assault victimization and perpetration by subgroups, accounting for attitudes, perceptions of campus norms, and precampus sexual assault, as well as individual and school characteristics. Analysis: Independent samples t-tests, chi-square tests, ANCOVA, and multiple linear and logistic regressions will be used to assess school-level prevalence of campus sexual assault victimization and perpetration among students and subgroups. Multilevel modeling approaches will be used to examine relationships among attitudes, perceptions of campus norms, bystander variables, and campus sexual assault victimization and perpetration, accounting for school-level and individual-level characteristics. Products, Reports, and Data Archiving: Findings will be widely disseminated through peer-reviewed publications, academic and practitioner conference presentations, research and practice briefs, and targeted webinars for researcher and practitioner audiences.

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