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Blame attributions of rape victims: Effects of victim sex and age, belief in a just world, and participant characteristics

Conference paper
Authors Leif Strömwall
Helen Alfredsson
Sara Landström
Published in 20th conference of the European Association of Psychology and Law, 15-18 Juni, Göteborg
Publication year 2010
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords Blame attributions, rape, victims, belief in a just world
Subject categories Applied Psychology


The disheartening observation that victims of rape often are blamed for their assault has primarily been examined with female victims of a male attacker. Much less is known about men as victims (Davies & Rogers, 2006) and whether victim age affects attributions of victim blame. We expected more blame attributed to male victims in general and young male victims in particular, especially by participants scoring high on Belief in a Just World Scale. Employing a vignette type of study, we recruited adults (N = 164) to participate in an experiment with a 2 (sex of participant) x 2 (sex of victim) x 2 (age of victim) x 2 (participant BJW-score) between-subjects design, and several measures of blame attribution as dependent variables. The main results was as hypothesized, namely that young male victims are attributed more blame and especially by participants scoring high on BJWS. The theoretical implications and practical applications will be discussed.

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