Date of Completion


Embargo Period



social change, intergroup relations, gender, sexual assault

Major Advisor

Felicia Pratto

Associate Advisor

Colin Leach

Associate Advisor

Vicki Magley

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The present dissertation examines ways to study social change using social dominance theory in the context of gender relations. The first paper outlines a theoretical reconceptualization of social change that focuses on the dynamics of intergroup behavior and power. The remaining papers in this dissertation demonstrate how to conduct social change research using social dominance theory by exploring the effects of ideological norms on support for violence against women, and by exploring violence prevention and collective action aimed at reducing intergroup inequality. I find that societal disagreement (rather than agreement) about sexism predicts normative? justification of domestic violence, and that women are the primary targets of violence in agency-normative contexts. Further, I develop a social dominance theory approach to collective action that complements social identity approaches to collective action. This paper argues that the social dominance theory provides a better model for men’s collective action motivations, and social identity approaches provide better models for women’s collective action motivations. In the final paper, I present an evaluation of a sexual assault prevention program that targets college men, and find that the program reduces sexism rape myth acceptance in addition to increasing collective action willingness and feminist activism. The discussion focuses on the theoretical, methodological, and applied contributions of the present dissertation to the social psychology of intergroup relations.