Dual Measures of Sexual Consent: A Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Internal Consent Scale and External Consent Scale

Kate Walsh, Sara Honickman, Zerbrina Valdespino-Hayden, Sarah Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Sexual assault, often defined as nonconsensual sex, is a problem among college students. Universities have made efforts to increase student awareness about sexual consent, which varies along two dimensions: internal feelings of wantedness and external expressions of consent. However, interventions focus on increasing knowledge of the external expression of consent despite the importance of both dimensions for effective sexual communication. A validated research tool that captures students' ecological experiences along both dimensions is critical. The current study aimed to replicate and validate the factor structure of the Internal Consent Scale (ICS) and External Consent Scale (ECS) in a sample of 610 undergraduate students and to expand on prior work by examining associations with relationship to partner and sexual orientation. Confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) provided support for the ICS in its current form (i.e., model fit and factor loadings for the ICS were good). Although model fit for the ECS was good, one subscale, no response signals, had poor factor loadings (.16, .38); thus, suggestions are offered to improve its psychometric properties. Despite limitations of the ECS, these dual measures fill a gap in the consent literature by providing a tool to quantify internal and external aspects of sexual consent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802-810
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of sex research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


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