Date of Award

Spring 6-24-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Lynette Bikos

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Joel Jin

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Brittany Willey


This research examined the relationship between masculine gender role stress and empathy in youths ages 11-19 and their ability to understand the concept of consent. I examined a moderated mediation model where the effect of gender on the understanding of consent via masculine gender role stress was permitted to differ as a function of levels of empathy. The moderated mediation was evaluated in a stepwise fashion. A simple mediation examining the degree to which MGRS mediated the relation of gender on consent revealed all effects were significant, including the indirect effect (B = 0.561, SE = .292 95, CI 0.100, 1.234). There was significant direct effect of gender on consent such that females are more likely to demonstrate understanding of the components of consent. This relationship was partially mediated by MGRS, such that females have a higher endorsement of MGRS; in turn higher levels of MGRS lead to greater understanding of consent. A second simple moderation predicted consent from gender, empathy, and its interaction. All effects were statistically significant, including the gender *empathy term. At only 1SD below the mean for empathy, females had higher valuation of consent than males. A simple moderation to predict consent from empathy, MGRS, and its interaction revealed all effects were significant. There was significant moderation at the mean and 1SD below the mean levels of empathy. When empathy was at or below the mean, there was a significant positive relationship between MGRS and consent. The final moderated mediation model predicted understanding of consent (Y) from gender (X) mediated by masculine gender role stress (MGRS[M]). Empathy (W) was predicted to moderate the b path (MGRS to consent) and the direct path, c’ (gender to consent). With the addition of the moderators, the conditional indirect effects were significant at and below the mean. Regarding the other paths in the model, gender had a significant effect on MGRS and consent. Empathy had a significant effect on consent. This research underscores the potential strength of empathy as a bolstering agent for consent interventions in the context of sexual assault prevention, especially for adolescent males.