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Situational variables or beliefs? A multifaceted approach to understanding blame attributions

Journal article
Authors Kerstin Adolfsson
Leif Strömwall
Published in Psychology, Crime and Law
Volume 23
Issue 6
Pages 527-552
ISSN 1068-316X
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 527-552
Language en
Links doi.org/10.1080/1068316X.2017.12902...
Keywords just world beliefs, Rape, rape myths, sympathy, victim blame
Subject categories Psychology, Applied Psychology

Abstract

Are victim and perpetrator blame attributions affected more by situational-specific variables or observers’ basic motives and personal beliefs? In three experiments, varying the scenario setting, the effects of victim and participant age, participant gender, sympathy for the victim, trust in the justice system, belief in a just world and acceptance of rape myths were investigated. In total, 877 Swedish adolescents and adults read scenarios reflecting common acquaintance rape situations. Victim age (18 or 31) was manipulated, but did not affect attributed blame. Effects of participant age and gender varied markedly across the three experiments. Sympathy for the victim and acceptance of rape myths were stronger predictors than belief in a just world. Consistently, blame attributions were found to be more affected by personal beliefs than situational-specific variables.

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