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Psychology of Women Quarterly

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prevention, resistance, sexual assault, sexual violence, women




© The Author(s) 2020. The Enhanced Assess, Acknowledge, Act (EAAA) program has been shown to reduce sexual assaults experienced by university students who identify as women. Prevention researchers emphasize testing theory-based mechanisms once positive outcomes related to effectiveness are established. We assessed the process by which EAAA’s positive outcomes are achieved in a sample of 857 first year university students. EAAA’s goals are to increase risk detection in social interactions, decrease obstacles to risk detection or resistance with known men, and increase women’s use of effective self-defense. We used chained multiple mediator modeling to assess the combined effects of the primary mediators (risk detection, direct resistance, and self-defense self-efficacy) while simultaneously assessing the interrelationships among the secondary mediators (perception of personal risk, belief in the myth of female precipitation, and general rape myth acceptance). The hypothesized multiple mediation model with three primary mediators met the criterion for full mediation of the intervention effects. Together, the mediators accounted for 95% and 76% of the reductions in completed and attempted rape, respectively, demonstrating full mediation. The hypothesized secondary mediators were important in achieving improvements in personal and situational risk detection. The findings strongly support the benefit of cognitive ecological theory and the Assess, Acknowledge, Act conceptualization underlying EAAA. This evidence can be used by administrators and staff responsible for prevention policy and practice on campuses to defend the implementation of theoretically grounded, evidence-based prevention programs.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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