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Research Aims to Reduce Sexual Assault

Professor Christine Hackman having a discussion with two students.
Sexual assault is a major public health issue, particularly in young adult populations. Professor Christine Hackman leads the Violence Prevention Research Lab, which is engaged in several studies, some aimed at developing and testing ways to increase bystander intervention and others that seek to increase the understanding of sexual assault survivors’ experiences. Undergraduate research assistants in Hackman’s lab work collaboratively to conceptualize and conduct original research studies, as well as communicate their findings.  

The Sexual Gender and Minorities Qualitative Study investigates how the LGBTQ+ community experiences everyday campus culture, the consequences of sexual assault, and the disparities in rates of victimization. These findings can be used to make policy recommendations and tailor campus resources to create college campuses that are safer and more inclusive for LGBTQ+ students.

The Integrated Behavioral Model Scale Study aims to develop and test a theory-based scale to predict whether someone would perform bystander intervention. By including novel variables such as moral norms, anticipated regret and personality, more insight can be obtained into the factors that influence whether college students engage in bystander intervention. 

The trends identified in the data will give insight into Cal Poly’s norms and describe what factors currently encourage or prevent intervention. This valid and reliable scale can guide future prevention programming and serve as an evaluation tool to examine changes in bystander behavior.

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