Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Scott Moeschberger

Second Advisor

Tim Herrmann

Third Advisor

Skip Trudeau


The incidence of rape is a significant concern for college campuses (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000), and the acceptance of myths about rape abound on campuses and in society (Burt, 1980; Bohner, Danner, Siebler, & Samson, 2002; Carmody & Washington, 2001; Chiroro, Bohner, Viki, & Jarvis, 2004). A copious amount of research has examined factors that increase rape myth acceptance, or the belief in any false statement or thought that inaccurately portrays a rape situation (Foubert & Marriot, 1997; Foubert & Newberry, 2006; Foubert & Perry, 2007; Johnson, Kuck, & Schander, 1997). However, very limited research sought to identify decreases in myth acceptance. One study has examined the relationship between moral development and rape myth acceptance (Tatum & Foubert, 2009). Given the close connection between moral development and spiritual development (Fowler, 1980; Walker & Reimer, 2005), a connection between rape myth acceptance and spiritual development may exist.

This study proposed and examined the link between spiritual development and rape myth acceptance. Scores were examined from 123 men at a small, Midwest, private, liberal arts institution, who completed the Spiritual Maturity Index (Ellison, 1984) and the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale (Payne, Lonsway, & Fitzgerald, 1999). A mean comparison indicated a moderate, negative correlation between spiritual development score and rape myth acceptance score, indicating that spiritual development and rape myth acceptance scores are inversely proportionate. This relationship informs professional practice in student development and encourages future research on the link between spiritual development and rape myth acceptance.