Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Joseph Hoffswell (Director), Angela Jerome, Holly Payne

Degree Program

Department of Communication

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Sexual education has long been a heavily debated topic, particularly in relation to appropriateness and effectiveness. The subject is further muddled by the difficulty of effectively addressing sexual consent and sexual assault in sexual education. The topics have garnered additional attention in today’s society, but remain ambiguous and complex. This quantitative thesis sought to examine the relationships between sexual education, sexual consent, and sexual assault, focusing specifically on college populations. Through surveying 445 college students using the Updated Rape Myth Acceptance Scale (IRMA), Sexual Consent Scale (SCS-R), and Affirmative Sexual Consent Situational Knowledge Scale, connections between attitudes and actions regarding sexual education, sexual consent, and sexual assault emerged. Findings indicated that while positive attitudes towards establishing consent and situational knowledge of affirmative consent connected to lower levels of rape myth acceptance, higher levels of reported sexual consent behaviors positively correlated with higher levels of rape myth acceptance. The effects of different types of sexual education and their perceived effectiveness on sexual consent behaviors and acceptance of rape myths was also examined, with findings indicating that type of sexual education was not as significant as the amount of sources of sexual education. Implications and directions for future research are explored.


Communication | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Other Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences