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The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of forced sex among high school students and to assess student attitudes about it. The questionnaires were given in conjunction with a presentation on date rape to 9th through 12th grade students in health and science classes in three large metropolitan Louisiana public high schools. The first questionnaire, given before the presentation, elicited demographic information and attitudes about forced sex in 11 scenarios; the second, given after the program, asked if the student had ever been in a situation involving forced sex and, if so, whether he or she had told anyone. The two questionnaires were completed by all 237 students. Although one out of five students (20%) reported they had experienced forced sex, only half had told about the experience. A majority of boys (60%) found it acceptable in one or more situations for a boy to force sex on a girl. Male, black, and older students were significantly more likely (p < 0.05) to indicate that it was acceptable for a boy to force sex on a girl in certain circumstances. These findings should alert physicians to the risk of acquaintance rape among their high school student patients. Student attitudes, particularly those of males, may provide an important focus of preventive sex education in the physician's office, the classroom, and the community.
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Accepted: November 8, 1992
© 1993 Published by Elsevier Inc.