Public Opinion on the Psychological and Legal Aspects of Televising Rape Trials

Janet Swim, Eugene Borgida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Public opinion about electronic media coverage of rape trials was examined using a cross‐sectional random probability survey sample of the Minneapolis‐St. Paul metropolitan area. Public beliefs about the legal and constitutional issues, the psychological effects of the media on trial participants, and the extended effects of media coverage on the public were examined. Descriptive results indicated that the public generally disapproved of electronic media coverage of courtroom trials. More importantly, women reported that they would be less likely to report a rape knowing that other rape trials had been televised. A multiple regression analysis relating beliefs to approval of televising rape trials showed that disapproval was most closely related to respondents' views of the symbolic constitutional issues. A second multiple regression analysis indicated that believing that “televising rape trials would increase a rape victim's trauma” was most highly related to women's behavioral intention to report a rape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-518
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1987


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