Acceptance of Modern Myths About Sexual Aggression (AMMSA) scale


Although the construct was introduced during the era of second wave feminism, it was not until 1980 that Martha Burt published the first social scientific examination of rape myth acceptance .This scale design began with the standard definition that rape myths are ‘descriptive or prescriptive beliefs about rape … that serve to deny, downplay or justify sexual violence that men commit against women’ In rape myth methodology prior to the Acceptance of Modern Myths about Sexual Aggression (AMMSA), a minimum stipulation was that rape myths needed to be demonstrably false. Significantly however, the AMMSA and others move away from this: for their purposes, ‘it would be more expedient to define rape myths not as false, but rather as “wrong” in an ethical sense.’


The 30 item self-report scale AMMSA incorporates insights from racism and sexism research and measures the acceptance of modern myths about sexual aggression. Across four studies (total N=1,279), the reliability and validity of parallel German and English versions of the AMMSA scale were examined. The results show that both language versions are highly reliable; compared with a traditional RMA scale, means of AMMSA scores are higher and their distributions more closely approximate normality. Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses provide evidence for the AMMSA scale’s concurrent and predictive construct validity.

Dear Participant,
First of all thank you for your willingness to participate in our study.
We assure you that all information will be held strictly confidential and anonymous. Please answer all questions honestly and carefully, as this is of great importance for the success of our study.
You will be presented with a set of statements and asked to indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with each. There are no right or wrong answers – we are only interested in your personal opinion.
Please read each statement carefully and then circle that number from 1 to 7 that you feel best represents your opinion. The points on the scale have the following meaning:

  • 1 = completely disagree
  • 2 = disagree
  • 3 = disagree somewhat
  • 4 = neutral
  • 5 = agree somewhat
  • 6 = agree
  • 7= completely agree

For example:
It snows in winter.
completely disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 completely agree
In this example the answer of 5 would indicate that you agree somewhat with the statement
but not entirely (for example, because it does not snow everywhere and all the time in winter).

Please use the complete range of the scale to express your exact opinion.

  • 1. When it comes to sexual contacts, women expect men to take the lead.
  • 2. Once a man and a woman have started "making out", a woman's misgivings against sex will automatically disappear.
  • 3. A lot of women strongly complain about sexual infringements for no real reason, just to appear emancipated.
  • 4. To get custody for their children, women often falsely accuse their ex-husband of a tendency towards sexual violence.
  • 5. Interpreting harmless gestures as "sexual harassment" is a popular weapon in the battle of the sexes.
  • 6. It is a biological necessity for men to release sexual pressure from time to time.
  • 7. After a rape, women nowadays receive ample support.
  • 8. Nowadays, a large proportion of rapes is partly caused by the depiction of sexuality in the media as this raises the sex drive of potential perpetrators.
  • 9. If a woman invites a man to her home for a cup of coffee after a night out this means that she wants to have sex.
  • 10. As long as they don’t go too far, suggestive remarks and allusions simply tell a woman that she is attractive.
  • 11. Any woman who is careless enough to walk through “dark alleys” at night is partly to be blamed if she is raped.
  • 12. When a woman starts a relationship with a man, she must be aware that the man will assert his right to have sex.
  • 13. Most women prefer to be praised for their looks rather than their intelligence.
  • 14. Because the fascination caused by sex is disproportionately large, our society’s sensitivity to crimes in this area is disproportionate as well.
  • 15. Women like to play coy. This does not mean that they do not want sex.
  • 16. Many women tend to exaggerate the problem of male violence.
  • 17. When a man urges his female partner to have sex, this cannot be called rape.
  • 18. When a single woman invites a single man to her flat she signals that she is not averse to having sex.
  • 19. When politicians deal with the topic of rape, they do so mainly because this topic is likely to attract the attention of the media.
  • 20. When defining "marital rape", there is no clear-cut distinction between normal conjugal intercourse and rape.
  • 21. A man’s sexuality functions like a steam boiler – when the pressure gets too high, he has to "let off steam".
  • 22. Women often accuse their husbands of marital rape just to retaliate for a failed
  • 23. The discussion about sexual harassment on the job has mainly resulted in many a harmless behavior being misinterpreted as harassment.
  • 24. In dating situations the general expectation is that the woman "hits the brakes" and the man "pushes ahead".
  • 25. Although the victims of armed robbery have to fear for their lives, they receive far less psychological support than do rape victims.
  • 26. Alcohol is often the culprit when a man rapes a woman.
  • 27. Many women tend to misinterpret a well-meant gesture as a "sexual assault".
  • 28. Nowadays, the victims of sexual violence receive sufficient help in the form of women’s shelters, therapy offers, and support groups.
  • 29. Instead of worrying about alleged victims of sexual violence society should rather attend to more urgent problems, such as environmental destruction.
  • 30. Nowadays, men who really sexually assault women are punished justly.
    completely disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 completely agree

Key references:

Gerger, H., Gerger, H., Kley, H., Bohner, G., & Siebler, F. (2007). The Acceptance of Modern Myths About Sexual Aggression (AMMSA) scale: Development and validation in German and English. Aggressive Behavior, 33, 422-440.