The perceived legitimacy of statutory rape laws: The effects of victim age, perpetrator age, and age span

Sarah Koon-Magnin, R. Barry Ruback

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Statutory rape laws are intended to protect minors below the age of consent from engaging in behavior that, although not forceful, may be harmful. Two studies explored howindividual judgments of adolescent sexual behavior and statutory rape are affected by victim age, perpetrator age,and the age span between partners.Across studies, respondents were significantly more critical of scenarios depicting younger victims, older perpetrators, and larger age spans between the two. These findings, using indirect measures, suggest that college students believe 16 is an appropriate age of consent and that sexual acts between adolescents who are within 2 years of age should not be criminalized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1918-1930
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume43
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 13 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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