Date of Award

Fall 9-10-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Eunyoung Kim, PhD

Committee Member

Gerard Babo, EdD

Committee Member

Sandra Ackerman-Sinclair, PhD

Keywords

sexual assertiveness, college student sexual assault, sexual awareness, benefits of sex education, sexual assault prevention, college level sex education

Abstract

As the national conversation around the perpetration of sexual violence continues, research around sexual assault on college campuses continues to grow. By collecting both quantitative and qualitative data, this dissertation investigated the effects on students’ levels of sexual assertiveness, sexual awareness, communication skills, and sexual refusal skills as a result of taking a college-level human sexual behavior course. Through a lens of cognitive development theory and social cognitive theory, this study adds to the framework of promotion of cognitive development, which can assist in strengthening a young woman’s sexual assertiveness.

Results of this mixed methods analysis suggest that there is a change in students’ sexual awareness, sexual refusal skills, and sexual assertiveness from the beginning of the semester—prior to taking the course—to the end of the semester, after they have completed the human sexual behavior course. These findings lend support to the idea that there are additional educational mechanisms on college campuses, such as courses that already likely exist, that can assist in the prevention and education of sexual violence on campus. Implications for policy, practice, and future research are discussed in hopes of drawing more attention to the need for including emancipatory sexuality education at the college level as another tool for sexual violence prevention.

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