Date of Award

Fall 8-20-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

First Advisor

Laura Salazar

Second Advisor

Anne Marie Schipani-McLaughlin


Sexual violence (SV) is a significant public health problem in the United States, specifically among undergraduate college students. Experiencing adverse childhood experiences or ACEs is also a significant public health problem and may act as a potential risk factor for perpetrating SV later in life. This study investigated whether ACEs was associated with an increased likelihood of SV perpetration, and whether several other risk factors for SV perpetration (hypermasculinity, hostility towards women, and binge drinking) acted as mediators between the relation between ACEs and later SV perpetration in adulthood. This study also tested whether perceptions of social norms moderated these relationships in male undergraduate students. Secondary data was drawn from the Freshman of Georgia study (FoG), a longitudinal CDC-funded study. A total of 1,144 male college freshmen enrolled at one of 30 participating colleges and universities in Georgia were included in this study via online survey completion. Statistical analyses were performed using SAS 9.4 software through SAS Studio University Edition. Three separate moderated mediation analyses were conducted via Hayes PROCESS macro model 14. Results showed that hypermasculinity and binge drinking mediated the relationship between ACEs and later SV perpetration, and also that perception of social norms was a significant moderator. These findings contribute to the growing body of literature surrounding SV perpetration and provide further understanding of the ACEs – SV perpetration relationship among male college students. SV prevention and education programming for this population should target the modifiable SV perpetration risk factors of hypermasculinity, binge drinking, and perceptions of social norms.

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