Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Maria Brown, MSW

Second Advisor

Anthony Bibus III, PhD

Third Advisor

Linda Ledray, RN, PhD, LP, FAAN


Rape is a social problem high impacting the individuals who have experienced sexual assault and its effects. Many clients report not only being victimized by the assault, but also in the aftermath by insensitive professionals who attribute blame to the victim. This blame is created by rape myths, beliefs that under certain circumstances, the victim was responsible for the assault. This thesis replicates a previous study done by Best, Dansky, and Kilpatrick (1992) in South Carolina among medical students and compares the results. This research study examines the attitudes of nurses from three different departments of a midwestern hospital who have a high degree of contact with victims but have different levels of training and experience. Thirty-six nurses participated and were given a questionnaire consisting of three vignettes describing different rape and crime scenes accompanies by an attitude measure assessing rape attribution. Findings from this study indicted that the nurses accepted rape myths only to a small degree thereby attributing very little responsibility to victims. Findings also indicated that experience working with rape victims lessened the tendency to attribute blame to victims. Compared to the medical students in the Best et al. study, the nurses from the Midwestern hospital attributed less blame to victims.


SC 11.MSW.1996.Kiffe.BJ

Included in

Social Work Commons