Rape Myths Acceptance among Adolescents – A Longitudinal Mediation Analysis

Ksenija Klasnić, Aleksandar Štulhofer


This study explores whether neo-sexist attitudes mediate the
association between sexualized media use (including
pornography) and rape myths. In a 3-wave panel of
Croatian high-school students (136 male and 326 female
adolescents), the mediation hypothesis was not confirmed.
Moreover, the association between neo-sexism and rape
myths was conformed only among female adolescents (the
average acceptance of neo-sexism was higher in male than
female participants). Contrary to what was expected,
pornography use – which was unrelated to neo-sexism – was
negatively associated with rape myths in both male and
female adolescents, although the relationship was statistically
significant only among the latter. Among male participants, watching movies and sequels on television or the Internet
was predictive for neo-sexist attitudes. This study's findings
point to the need of studying the use of sexualized media
among adolescents to identify factors associated with
trivialization and/or misinterpretation of sexual violence and
aggression. Considering that adolescents differ in their
susceptibility to the influence of media, future studies should
focus on possible moderation effects of family and peer


adolescents, electronic media, pornography use, rape myths, neosexism

Full Text:

PDF (Hrvatski)


Adams, C. J. (2004). Pornography. In Encyclopedia of Rape (pp. 151–152). Greenwood Press.

Aosved, A. C., & Long, P. J. (2006). Co-occurrence of rape myth acceptance, sexism, racism, homophobia, ageism, classism, and religious intolerance. Sex Roles, 55(7–8), 481–492. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-006-9101-4

Baer, J. L., Kohut, T., & Fisher, W. A. (2015). Is pornography use associated with anti-woman sexual aggression? Re-examining the Confluence Model with third variable considerations. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 24(2), 160–173. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjhs.242-A6

Bearman, S., Korobov, N., & Thorne, A. (2009). The fabric of internalized sexism. Journal of Integrated Social Sciences, 1(1), 10–47.

Berberick, S. N. (2010). The objectification of women in mass media: Female self-image in misogynist culture. The New York Sociologist: The On-Line Journal of the New York State Sociological Association, 5, 1–15.

Bergkvist, L., & Rossiter, J. R. (2007). The predictive validity of multiple-item versus single-item measures of the same constructs. Journal of Marketing Research, 44(2), 175–184. https://doi.org/10.1509/jmkr.44.2.175

Brown, J. D., & L’Engle, K. L. (2009). X-Rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. early adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit media. Communication Research, 36(1), 129–151. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650208326465

Brownmiller, S. (1993). Against our will: Men, women and rape. New York: Ballantine books.

Burt, M. R. (1980). Cultural myths and supports for rape. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38(2), 217–230. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.38.2.217

Byrne, B. M. (2009). Structural equation modeling with AMOS (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Byrne, B. M., Shavelson, R. J., & Muthén, B. (1989). Testing for the equivalence of factor covariance and mean structures: The issue of partial measurement invariance. Psychological Bulletin, 105(3), 456–466. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.105.3.456

Calogero, Rachel, M., & Jost, J. T. (2011). Self-subjugation among women: Exposure to sexist ideology, self-objectification, and the protective function of the need to avoid closure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100(2), 211–228.

Campbell, B., Schellenberg, E. G., & Senn, C. Y. (1997). Evaluating measures of contemporary sexism. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21(1), 89–102. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6402.1997.tb00102.x

Chapleau, K. M., Oswald, D. L., & Russell, B. L. (2007). How ambivalent sexism toward women and men support rape myth acceptance. Sex Roles, 57(1–2), 131–136. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9196-2

Collins, R. L. (2011). Content analysis of gender roles in media: Where are we now and where should we go? Sex Roles, 64(3), 290–298. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-010-9929-5

Custers, K., & McNallie, J. (2016). The relationship between television sports exposure and rape myth acceptance: The mediating role of sexism and sexual objectification of women. Violence Against Women, 23(7), 813–829. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801216651340

Čulig, B., Kufrin, K., & Landripet, I. (2007). EU +/- - Odnos građana Hrvatske prema pridruživanju Republike Hrvatske Europskoj uniji. Zagreb: FF press i B.A.B.E.

Deming, M. E., Covan, E. K., Swan, S. C., & Billings, D. L. (2013). Exploring rape myths, gendered norms, group processing, and the social context of rape among college women. Violence Against Women, 19(4), 465–485. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801213487044

Diamantopoulos, A., Sarstedt, M., Fuchs, C., Wilczynski, P., & Kaiser, S. (2012). Guidelines for choosing between multi-item and single-item scales for construct measurement: A predictive validity perspective. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 40(3), 434–449. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-011-0300-3

Field, R. E. (2004). Rape culture. In Encyclopedia of Rape (pp. 174–175). Greenwood Press.

Fiske, S. T., & North, M. S. (2014). Measures of stereotyping and prejudice: Barometers of bias. In G. J. Boyle, D. H. Saklofske, & G. Matthews (Eds.), Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Constructs (pp. 684–718). Elsevier/Academic Press.

Forbes, G. B., Adams-Curtis, L. E., & White, K. B. (2004). First- and second-generation measures of sexism, rape myths and related beliefs, and hostility toward women: their interrelationships and association with college students’ experiences with dating aggression and sexual coercion. Violence Against Women, 10(3), 236–261. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801203256002

Fredrickson, B. L., & Roberts, T.-A. (1997). Objectification theory: toward understanding women’s lived experiences and mental health risks. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21(2), 173–206. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6402.1997.tb00108.x

Galić, B. (2004). Seksistički diskurs rodnog identiteta. Socijalna Ekologija, 13(3–4), 305–324.

Galić, B. (2012). Promjena seksističkog diskursa u Hrvatskoj? Usporedba rezultata istraživanja 2004. i 2010. godine. Socijalna Ekologija, 21(2), 155–178.

Gorman, J. (2004). Media. In Encyclopedia of Rape (pp. 124–126). Greenwood Press.

Grabe, S., Ward, L. M., & Hyde, J. S. (2008). The role of the media in body image concerns among women: A meta-analysis of experimental and correlational studies. Psychological Bulletin, 134(3), 460–476. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.134.3.460

Graham, J. W. (2012). Missing data: Analysis and design. New York: Springer.

Hald, G. M., Malamuth, N. M., & Yuen, C. (2010). Pornography and attitudes supporting violence against women: Revisiting the relationship in nonexperimental studies. Aggressive Behavior, 36(1), 14–20. https://doi.org/10.1002/ab.20328

Hooper, D., Coughlan, J., & Mullen, M. (2008). Structural equation modelling: Guidelines for determining model fit. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 6(1), 53–60.

Iconis, R. (2008). Rape myth acceptance in college students: a literature review. Issues in Education, 1(2), 47–52.

Ilišin, V., & Radin, F. (2007). Mladi: problem ili resurs. Zagreb: Institut za društvena istraživanja u Zagrebu.

Klasnić, K. (2012). Tko vjeruje u mitove o nasilju nad ženama? Rezultati istraživanja na dva hrvatska sveučilišta. In D. Marinković & S. Šljukić (Eds.), Promene u društvenoj strukturi i pokretljivosti (pp. 458–484). Novi Sad: Odsek za sociologiju, Filozofski fakultet u Novom Sadu.

Kuyper, L., De Wit, J., Adam, P., & Woertman, L. (2012). Doing more good than harm? The effects of participation in sex research on young people in the Netherlands. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41(2), 497–506. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-011-9780-y

Laberge, Y., & Smith, M. D. (2004). Films, U.S. In Encyclopedia of Rape (pp. 76–78). Greenwood Press.

Little, T. D. (2013). Longitudinal structural equation modeling. New York: Guilford Press.

Lottes, I. L. (2011). Rape supportive attitude scale. In T. D. Fisher, C. M. Davis, W. L. Yarber, & S. L. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures (3rd Ed., pp. 515–516). New York: Routledge.

Malamuth, N. M., Addison, T., & Koss, M. (2000). Pornography and sexual aggression: Are there reliable effects and can we understand them. Annual Review of Sex Research, 11, 26–91.

McHugh, M. C., & Frieze, I. H. (1997). The measurement of gender-role attitudes: A review and Commentary. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, 1–16.

Payne, D. L., Lonsway, K. A., & Fitzgerald, L. F. (1999). Rape myth acceptance: Exploration of its structure and its measurement using the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale. Journal of Research in Personality, 33, 27–68. https://doi.org/10.1006/jrpe.1998.2238

Peter, J., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2007). Adolescents’ exposure to a sexualized media environment and their notions of women as sex objects. Sex Roles, 56(5–6), 381–395. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-006-9176-y

Peters, J. (2008). Measuring myths about domestic violence: Development and initial validation of the Domestic Violence Myth Acceptance Scale. Journal Of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 16(1), 1–21.

Rasmusson, S. L. (2004). Celebrity rapists. In Encyclopedia of Rape (pp. 36–39). Greenwood Press.

Rodgers, L. (2005). The relationship between sexism, feminism, and attitudes toward premarital sex. Honors Scholar Theses. University of Connecticut.

Schreiber, J. B., Nora, A., Stage, F. K., Barlow, E. A., & King, J. (2006). Reporting modeling analysis and confirmatory results: Equation factor review. The Journal of Educational Research, 99(6), 323–337.

Shim, J. W., Kwon, M., & Cheng, H.-I. (2016). Analysis of representation of sexuality on women’s and men’s pornographic websites. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 44(3), 53–62. https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2015.43.1.53

Shrout, P. E., & Bolger, N. (2002). Mediation in experimental and nonexperimental studies: New procedures and recommendations. Psychological Methods, 7(4), 422–445. https://doi.org/10.1037//1082-989X.7.4.422

Signorielli, N., McLeod, D., & Healy, E. (1994). Profile: Gender stereotypes in MTV commercials: The beat goes on. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 38(1), 91–101. https://doi.org/10.1080/08838159409364248

Swim, J. K., Aikin, K. J., Hall, W. S., & Hunter, B. A. (1995). Sexism and racism: Old-fashioned and modern prejudices. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68(2), 199–214. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.68.2.199

Štulhofer, A., Matković, T., Mrakovčić, M., Elias, J., Little, D., & Elias, V. D. (2003). Rizici pornografije? Empirijsko testiranje uvriježenih predodžbi o konzumentima seksualno eksplicitnih sadržaja. Revija Za Sociologiju, 34(1–2), 75–96.

Tougas, F., Brown, R., Beaton, A. M., & Joly, S. (1995). Neosexism: Plus ça change, plus c’est pareil. Personality and Social Psychology, 21(8), 842–849.

van de Schoot, R., Lugtig, P., & Hox, J. (2012). A checklist for testing measurement invariance. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 9(4), 486–492. https://doi.org/10.1080/17405629.2012.686740

Walby, S. (1990). Theorizing patriarchy. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd.

Wood, J. T. (1994). Gendered media: The influence of media on views of gender. Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender and Culture, 231–244. Retrieved from http://www.udel.edu/comm245/readings/GenderedMedia.pdf

Viewing Statistics

  • Abstract - 113
  • PDF (Hrvatski) - 17

Copyright (c) 2018 Ksenija Klasnić, Aleksadar Štulhofer

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

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

Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096