Date of Award

12-1-2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Whaley, Rachel

Abstract

Past research has confirmed that structural attributes of nations, as well as individual characteristics of people contribute to levels of fear of crime, across both nations and individuals. Specifically, in regard to the effects structural characteristics have on fear, gender equality has been shown to affect rates of rape, which in turn, affect women's fear of crime. Regarding individual-level determinants, age, income, education, whether one dwells in an urban or rural area, and prior victimization have been shown to have effects on fear. This dissertation set out to answer several research questions related to prior findings: 1) How does gender equality affect women's fear of crime across nations?; 2) Does gender equality have a direct effect on women's fear, or is this effect mediated by national rape rates?; 3) How do structural characteristics other than gender equality affect women's fear of crime?; and last, 4) How do individual characteristics affect women's fear of crime? Using data from various sources, including the International Criminal Victimization Survey, the World Values Survey, the United Nations, and the World Bank (total N=20 nations and 17,384 individuals), I assessed the aforementioned research questions using multilevel modeling. Overall, findings indicate that individual-level characteristics did a better job than structural context in predicting women's fear of crime across various nations. Possible explanations for these findings are discussed in the final chapter.

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