Date of Award

Summer 5-27-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Laura Salazar

Second Advisor

Dr. Anne Marie Schipani-McLaughlin


The purpose of this study was to understand the factors that facilitate and/or impede female college students from intervening in a potentially dangerous situation, particularly when alcohol is present. Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) was used as a guiding framework to examine environmental, personal, and behavioral factors. This study utilized a qualitative research design and data were collected via semi-structured focus groups. Female college students (N=34) ages 18-20 from three Southeastern universities participated in a total of 6 focus groups. The focus groups were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Nvivo was used to conduct a qualitative thematic analysis. Results suggested that normative beliefs about consent, alcohol, lack of risk perception, fear of consequences, toxic masculinity, and not knowing the potential victim were barriers to intervention. Facilitators to intervention included a lack of negative consequences for intervening, friendship or acquaintanceship of potential victim, moral obligation, and personal experience. Findings are relevant for informing sexual assault risk reduction education for female college students.

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