Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Dianne Cooney Miner

Second Supervisor

Melissa Ghera


Sexual violence has become a national crisis for higher education institutions. The Department of Education charged institutions with providing sexual violence prevention programming to all incoming first year students. Given the serious of this matter, this research study sought to explore the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of first year college students concerning sexual assault from a socio-ecological perspective as a way to gain information on how to build comprehensive and successful prevention programs. The study utilized a qualitative content analysis methodology to interpret participant responses from gender specific focus groups. Participants consisted of two female groups and two male groups with a total of 19 participants who were all 18 years of age and first semester college students. The questions asked used the socio-ecological model as a framework and focused on the participant knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of sexual assault after watching a mandatory sexual violence prevention program facilitated during the first weekend of school. The outcome of the study resulted in participants sharing the information gained from the mandatory prevention program, the factors and actions that contribute to sexual violence on campus and the barriers they believe contribute to students not reporting incidences of sexual violence. The study also includes suggestions for a comprehensive prevention program based on the literature review conducted as well as the analysis of participant responses.

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