Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Margaret Glenn.


Sexual assault has been a widely studied occurrence in the United States and continues to be a major problem on college campuses. Recent surveys of college women have found that between 15% and 20% have experienced rape (Flack et al., 2007; McMahon, 2007). Unfortunately, little empirical research has examined specific college populations that maybe at a greater risk of sexual assault. Female college athletes comprise a special population that has been linked to many of the risk factors that are associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing sexual assault. This study examined risk factors associated with sexual assault such as alcohol use, rape myth acceptance, sexual history, and beliefs about sexual consent. Archival data that was originally gathered in 2008 was used in this study. Female athletes and non-athletes were recruited from a variety of medium-sized and small Universities and colleges in the Midwest and Northeastern United States. The sample consisted of 209 college female athletes, 417 non-athlete females, and nine participants that did not indicate their athletic status. Using a cross-sectional, descriptive research design, the analyses provided an initial examination of the defined sexual assault risk factors in female college athletes and non-athletes. The results revealed no significant difference in rape myth acceptance and sexual consent across athletes and non-athletes in the sample. The results also revealed that there was no significant difference in sexual assault histories across athletic status in the sample. Finally, the results revealed that athletic status did not have a significant main effect on drinking rates, but sexual victimization did have a main effect on participants' drinking rates. Specifically, rape victims drank more frequently than those who experienced lower levels of sexual assault. The findings of this study show the specific areas that can be targeted to decrease the likelihood of sexual assault not only to female college athletes but also to non-athletes.