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Practice Profile

Male-Targeted, Sexual Assault-Prevention Program

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:

Effective - One Meta-Analysis Attitudes & Beliefs - Future Intentions of Being Sexually Aggressive
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Victimization - Future Prevention Efforts
No Effects - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Sex-related offenses

Practice Description

Practice Goals/Targeted Population
Male-targeted, sexual assault-prevention programs are designed to reduce the prevalence of sexual assaults by targeting potential perpetrators directly. Programs (targeting males 18 or older) are generally implemented on college campuses, where there are many reports of sexual assaults (Wright et al. 2018); however, programs may also be delivered to off-campus populations in the community or even to offenders in prison. Programs may be universal in nature, targeting any group of males (such as members of a fraternity), or the programs may be targeted at high-risk males (such as men who have previously perpetrated sexual assault or men who hold rape-supportive attitudes).

Program Components
Programs often include components designed to build empathy for victims, break down myths about rape, and train bystanders to intervene in potential assault situations. Male-focused interventions may include providing psychoeducation, giving information to increase knowledge surrounding male socialization and how that contributes to sexual assault, and using the elaboration likelihood model (ELM) and social norms approach to induce attitude change (Wright et al. 2018).

Components may be delivered through video, lecture, or group discussion format. Trained professional or peer educators lead participants through potential responses to hypothetical scenarios involving sexism, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Discussions may focus on the reasons why and how participants might intervene or not intervene in a situation (Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al. 2011).

Practice Theory
Male-targeted prevention programs target potential perpetrators directly. Although both men and women can be perpetrators of sexual violence, gender-neutral approaches ignore risk factors that are uniquely male (Berkowitz 2002; Black et al. 2011). Men perpetrate most sexual assaults. For example, 98.1 percent of rapes against women are committed by men, and 93.3 percent of rapes against men are also committed by men. Furthermore, mixed-gender programming may put men into the uncomfortable position of feeling blamed or reinforce a male versus female mentality that contributes to sexual assault (Berkowitz 1992).

Meta-Analysis Outcomes

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Effective - One Meta-Analysis Attitudes & Beliefs - Future Intentions of Being Sexually Aggressive
Across 13 studies, Wright and colleagues (2018) found a small, statistically significant effect (d = 0.20) for reducing future intent of being sexually aggressive. This means that participants who attend male-targeted, sexual assault-prevention programs reported decreased intent to engage in sexually aggressive acts in the future, compared with those in the control groups.
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Victimization - Future Prevention Efforts
Across 10 studies, Wright and colleagues (2018) found a statistically significant effect (d = 0.27) for increasing future prevention efforts. This means that participants who attended male-targeted, sexual assault-prevention programs reported increased intent to engage in future prevention efforts (e.g., interrupting a potential assault, compared with males in the control groups.
No Effects - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Sex-related offenses
Looking at results from five studies, Wright and colleagues (2018) did not find a significant effect on actual sexual assault perpetration for participants who attended male-targeted, sexual assault-prevention programs, compared with males in the control groups.
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Meta-Analysis Methodology

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Meta-Analysis Snapshot
 Literature Coverage DatesNumber of StudiesNumber of Study Participants
Meta-Analysis 11978 - 2014297002

Meta-Analysis 1
Wright and colleagues (2018) assessed the effectiveness of male-targeted, sexual assault-prevention programs on reducing future sexually aggressive behavior or sexual assault and future sexual assault-prevention efforts, such as interrupting a potential assault situation as an active bystander. To be eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis, evaluations must have looked at male-targeted prevention programs designed to reduce negative attitudes, beliefs, and/or behaviors associated with sexual assault and rape. Studies that included female participants were acceptable if the women had participated in an intervention and evaluation process separate from that of male participants. All participants were required to be 18 or older. Studies were located from the following databases: Psychological Information Database, Education Resources Information Center, Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online, Google Scholar, Dissertation Abstracts Online, Criminal Justice Abstracts, and reference sections of relevant articles.

The final sample for the meta-analysis included 29 controlled studies. The studies were published between 1978 and 2014. Twenty-six of the studies used a randomized controlled trial design. Sixteen of the studies were published in academic journals, whereas the remaining thirteen were dissertations or theses. A total of 7,002 men participated in the studies. Participants in 25 studies were college-aged men. Of the four remaining studies, two took place inside a correctional facility, and two were conducted with military personnel (Army and Navy). No information on the race of the participants was provided. Studies measured the effectiveness of the interventions using at least one of the following seven dependent variables: 1) attitudes related to sexual assault, 2) attitudes associated with gender roles and women, 3) rape empathy, 4) knowledge of sexual assault, 5) future behavioral intent not to engage in sexual assault or sexually aggressive behavior, 6) future behavioral intent related to other behaviors associated with sexual assault, and 7) self-reported perpetrated sexual aggression.

The calculated effect size metric was Cohen’s d. An overall weighted mean effect size for all studies using a random effects model was also calculated.
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Cost

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There is no cost information available for this practice.
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Evidence-Base (Meta-Analyses Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the practice profile:

Meta-Analysis 1
Wright, Lauren A., Nelson Zounlome, and Susan C. Whiston. 2018. “The Effectiveness of Male-Targeted Sexual Assault Prevention Programs: A Meta-Analysis.” Trauma, Violence & Abuse. Online first.
https://doi.org/10.1177/1524838018801330
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the practice profile:

Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, John D. Foubert, Hope M. Brasfield, Brent Hill, and Shannon Shelley-Tremblay. 2011. “The Men's Program: Does It Impact College Men’s Self-Reported Bystander Efficacy and Willingness to Intervene?” Violence Against Women 17:743-59.
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Practice Snapshot

Age: 18+

Gender: Male

Targeted Population: Military Personnel, Prisoners, Sex Offenders

Settings: Campus, Correctional, Other Community Setting

Practice Type: Gender-Specific Programming, Group Therapy, Violence Prevention

Unit of Analysis: Persons