Title

Exploring negative dating experiences and beliefs about rape among younger and older women

Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3463-5704

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-27-1998

Publication Title

Archives of Sexual Behavior

Volume

27

Issue

2

First Page

145

Last Page

153

DOI

10.1023/A:1018630513681

Keywords

Dating coercion, Life span, Rape myths, Women

Abstract

Although there is extensive research describing negative dating experiences and rape myth beliefs among university- and college-age women, there is little exploration of these issues among older dating women. An exploratory study that extends existing research by investigating rape myth beliefs and negative dating experiences of women ranging in age from 18 to 85 years is described. Participants (N=115) completed a questionnaire which included a standardized measure of rape myth adherence (R-Scale; Costin, 1985), and a series of questions that assessed concerns about the potential for negative experiences while dating and actual negative dating experiences (ranging from unwanted affection to rape). There were remarkable similarities among younger and older women with respect to their dating behaviors and experiences. Women from both age groups reported being the target of negative dating experiences and being concerned about these experiences - with older women expressing slightly more concern. Older women, however, endorsed rape myths to a greater extent. This suggests that older women may be at greater risk for self-deprecation because they may be more likely to attribute the negative they encounter to personal faults. Findings highlight the need for more life-span research of dating experiences and attitudes towards dating violence.

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