In this study, College of Wooster student`s (N= 37) feelings of empathy toward a female victim of intimate partner violence were examined using relationship length (short term or long term) as an independent variable and participant`s support towards benevolent sexist ideology as an explanatory variable of participant`s feelings of empathy toward the victim. Participants were asked to complete one of four anonymous surveys, each of which contained one scenario that described mild intimate partner violence between a heterosexual couple. Within each survey, participants were prompted with self-designed questions that measured their feelings of empathy toward the female victim as well as with questions derived from Glick and Fiske`s Ambivalent Sexism Inventory that measured their support towards benevolent sexist ideology. Results showed a majority of the participants, both male and female, supported benevolent sexist ideology. However, male and female students felt similar amounts of empathy towards the victim regardless of how long the victim was in a relationship with the perpetrator. Although these findings failed to find a significant relationship between length of relationship and participant`s feelings of empathy toward the victim, it may validate the problematic existence of benevolent sexist ideology within college students.

Keywords: benevolent sexism, empathy, sexual assault, intimate partner violence


McBride, Amber G.




Social and Behavioral Sciences

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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