Antecedents to women's fear of rape

Analise O'Donovan*, Grant J. Devilly, Ronald M. Rapee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This study assessed the relative merits of sociodemographic variables and psychological variables in understanding women's fear of rape. A comprehensive understanding of the factors involved in women's fear of rape may allow for more effective interventions with women. Four hundred and eleven women, aged 18 years or older participated in the study, which surveyed their fear of rape and experience of rape. In agreement with previous findings, sociodemographic variables contributed significantly but relatively little (13%) to the variance in women's fear of rape. In contrast, psychological factors (perceived likelihood of being raped and perceived severity of consequences) predicted an additional 29% of the variance to this fear. Greater perceived likelihood of being raped functioned as a partial mediating variable between sociodemographic factors of age and relationship status and women's fear of rape. These results are encouraging as psychological models provide more avenues for restructuring such fear and modifying concordant, dysfunctional behaviours. Consequently, these results provide direction to intervention and education programs aimed at reducing women's fear of rape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalBehaviour Change
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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